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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

Grand Rapids ordinance proposal calls for a clear anti-discrimination investigation process


When Lyonel Lagrone was flooded with concerns of discrimination with residents of color he decided to take a deep dive into finding out what processes were in place to address this. 

“The current ordinance you don’t really know what employment discrimination is and what it means and when you have something like that that is so incredibly broad that its weak.”   

To address what he saw as a gap in the process, Lagrone wrote his own Human Rights Ordinance and presented it to the city attorney this past October. The ordinance is meant to ensure accountability exists in the complaint filing and the investigation process. 

“The only way to do that is through solid investigations and remedy.” 

Lagrone’s policy outlines the kind of remedies, and penalties expected in case of the policy’s violation. 

“Once a person files a complaint its incumbent upon the city to investigate and the investigations should follow this particular number of steps.” 

The current policy leaves the remediation up to the Community Relations Commission. A 9 member volunteer group appointed by the mayor. 

Patricia Caudill, Diversity & Inclusion Manager at the City of Grand Rapids was not able to comment on the process as the ordinance is under review. 

Lagrone shares that his intention with asking to repeal the current ordinance is to ensure Grand Rapids is a good place to live for all people. 

“At what point do we just say okay wait a minute we want to be a model middle size town for the United States and we are going to do this right and we are going to change the trajectory and make this all that racist a thing of the past. That’s how Grand Rapids used to be but now we are something different.” 

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News

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