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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.

GR Residents show overwhelming support for Human Rights Ordinance

City of Grand Rapids

“Anyone who has actually experienced being called and you have police officers coming to you or interacting in a way that is surprising because you’ve been doing nothing – seeing some accountability measures and seeing some legislation to try and take steps to help put protections in place for people who are experiencing that is crucial.” 

That’s Steffanie Rosalez, one of the dozens of residents to speak in support of the Human Rights Ordinance that would impose a fine of up to $500 when a biased 911 call is made. 

The purpose of the ordinance said Patty Caudiill, from the City of Grand Rapids Diversity and Inclusion office, is to provide a way for Grand Rapids residents to be protected in instances of discrimination. 

“So that its clear what is, or is not, or could or could not be considered discriminatory practices.” 

But some of the residents who spoke in favor of the ordinance questioned publicly whether Grand Rapids Police Department officers would be held accountable by the ordinance. Here is Neal Walton, a student at Grand Rapids Community College.

“How are we going to enforce this ordinance and not just have it to appease people of color or any people of any protected class?”

Unlike the old ordinance from fifty years ago, this one outlines specifically what discriminatory employment and housing practices entail, and provides a process for residents to file a complaint. The city is expected to vote on the ordinance in May. 

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News. 

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