Fulfilling Martin Luther King's dream, we have begun to enter
an era where the color of skin is used less in pre-judging a person's
ideas, values, and priorities. BUT because our social
connections are still very ethnically exclusive it is necessary that we
continue to seek out those from all ethnic groups to participate in
religious, business, and government organizations.
It is every individuals prerogative through the voting process
to indicate whether a candidate shares their ideas, values, and priorities.
There was a time when African Americans could only own or rent
homes on the near south east side of our city. For many years now
African Americans have bought and rented homes throughout the city.
There are many talented African American, Hispanic, Asian, and
Native American people who could serve in elected office who live in each
of the three wards of our city.
When Ellen James, an African American woman, ran for the
Community College's governing board she was the top vote getter in the
Before 1984. many people in Grand Rapids said that a person of color
could only win elective office after a reshaping of the wards. They
said that only when the ward was overwhelmingly populated by people of
color could a person of color be elected. Since 1984 we have proved
many times that when we can find and support a candidate ( regardless of
color ) who is the best qualified candidate they will win election
regardless of the ethnicity of the population in the ward.
We have many people of color with the experience, talent, potential
support, and opportunity to win in three wards and the office of Mayor this
I believe that persons of color can, have, and do represent the interests
of the entire community in Grand Rapids elective offices.
With a lack of elected ethnic minorities in office, elected ethnic
majority people should carefully listen to all individuals and groups community about concerns, and facilitate a response from
government. They should honestly communicated with all individuals and groups about
government plans and seek ideas, advice, and participation in decision
making. They should partner with all groups and individuals to find effective
ways to achieve community goals for neighborhood improvement in partnership
with government. They should always looked for and used
opportunities to encourage leadership recruitment and development in our
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