Letters

Another young man of color is dead

August 15, 2014
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The events in Ferguson, Mo., have been on my mind and heart and I am deeply saddened.

The thing that stands out in my mind is the community of Ferguson is primarily people of color, yet the police force is mostly white. A question we should be asking ourselves is, “Do my employees reflect the ethnicities of the people they serve?”

We also know that “numbers” aren’t the long-term solution. One can work for a very diverse organization, but is it equitable to all employees? I believe the police force of Ferguson should hire people of color to represent the community they serve for many reasons, but mainly people need to see their ethnic group reflected in the police force.

Working for an organization that helps to eliminate institutional racism, our vision is that the community will reflect all voices living within. If we believe in treating all persons equitably, we need to take a good, hard look at what we really see when we view the world we live in.

We all have bias and often it is unintended. This unintentional bias is why our nature is to marginalize people who may look or speak differently than us. We assume we know something when in fact we may be completely wrong.

Whatever the facts are about the tragedy in Ferguson, one thing is very clear: a young man of color is dead, and the racial discourse will take hard work from all sides to be alleviated.

Lisa Mitchell
Partners for a Racism-Free Community
Grand Rapids

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