Prompt action is welcome in wake of grand jury decisions

December 5, 2014
Text Size:

Grand Rapids city staff has agreed to provide citizens with recommendations in the next two weeks related to the concerns and ideas presented in meetings with the Grand Rapids NAACP, facilitated by LINC Community Revitalization, in the wake of a Dec. 3 New York grand jury decision not to indict a police officer for wrongdoing in the choking death of Eric Garner.

The meeting was planned even before the decision was announced, after similar findings regarding the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

Simply listening to the concerns of the community isn't enough, and prompt action on the part of the city and its police chief is welcome. It is a discussion perhaps all business leaders and business owners should encourage with their employees.

The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce has long sponsored diversity workshops and Healing Racism seminars. Diversity training, in fact, is already in place at Grand Rapids Police Department and should be encouraged by the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, as well as police agencies throughout the region.

What is especially striking after the city meeting is the respectful regard both the community and Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky modeled in an emotional and difficult discussion.

Also striking is a millennial generation eloquently representing a world view — and the fact that there are no “isolated” incidents. The whole of the “community” is represented by what happens to any individual. That broader view is and will be just as pervasive in human relations departments.

Rahinsky told the Business Journal after his hiring that he sees the community as his customer — whether businesses or citizens — and he puts the customer first. The chief exhibited the leadership qualities of great CEOs when he listened, reiterated what he heard, frankly offered his reservations about some of the recommendations, and set a date for action and further dialogue.

Without parsing those recommendations, the Business Journal commends LINC, the NAACP and the chief for their abilities in fostering community leadership. The cost of further improvements or improvements in general across the region pales in comparison to the loss of life.

It is yet another model for another type of Grand Rapids partnership. Representatives of the millennial generation as well as the judiciary, such as newly retired Judge Benjamin Logan, should be included — and heard.

Grand Rapids — the whole community — can be a model in this state and nation.

Recent Articles by Carole Valade

Editor's Picks

Comments powered by Disqus