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Joseph Jones ends nine-year run at the Urban League of West Michigan

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City of Grand Rapids
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Joseph Jones has announced his departure from the Urban League of West Michigan. The former CEO and President served for nine years at the organization, which is dedicated to promoting social and economic stability and racial equality in West Michigan.

Jones, a Second Ward City Commissioner in Grand Rapids, cited growing issues within the community as the reason for his departure, noting he wants to “lean in” on subjects like inclusive economic growth, community violence and “collateral damage” that has resulted from COVID-19 and the killing of George Floyd in African American and Lantinx communities. In an interview with WGVU, Jones said he feels he can best address the issues through his role in city government.

“The role of the elected official is to commit oneself to being a student and really fully understanding the issues from both sides and both perspectives,” Jones said, “I’m one cat, 24 hours in a day, and I’m not trying to be that guy. I’m not trying to be for lack of a better term the ‘super negro.’ That’s just not who I am. I’d much rather bring other cats along to help them be in a position where they can articulate what the needs are and what they envision for Grand Rapids in West Michigan."

When asked what his greatest accomplishment during his tenure with the Urban League of West Michigan was, Jones said working with African American men ages 16 through 24 is an experience he’ll always remember.

“The Urban League is all up in the African American history, part and parcel of what the African American experience has been in America, and I was a part of that,” he explained, “…The work was very personal to me. In my opinion, it made me a better man. It made me a better human, and it’s something that I will forever cherish.”

The Urban League of West Michigan is on the search for a new Chief Operating Officer. Vice President and COO, Brenda Moore, will serve as interim CEO.

Jones will be celebrated for his service during the Urban League’s 2021 Annual MLK Breakfast on January 18. More information can be requested here.