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GR Black leaders respond to the weekend's events

Michelle Jokisch Polo

Erica Soto, board president of BL²END, a local organization focused on young professionals of color, says Saturday’s protest was a result of a much larger narrative.  

“We are not respected or valued as leaders of color in this community because if we were we would be able to connect with our community in a completely different way where things like what happened last night would not have happened. 

But Grand Rapids City Commissioner, Senita Lenear pointed to the difference that the weekend’s marked for the city. 

“As a result of what we saw last night that this is a turning point for us to say: “okay, have we gone far enough?” because people are still being hurt and people are still crying out and asking for there to be change made locally as well as nationally.” 

Lenear underlined the importance of continuing the conversation, focusing specifically on how. 

“Something has to change, something has to give, and I think the next thing that we should be considering are: what are the right community conversations, what are the right policies that need to be changed, who are the right people to have at the table for the change. “ 

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