The Michigan League for Public Policy aimed to have what it called an “honest discussion” about racial inequality in Michigan at its annual forum Monday.
From the Flint water crisis to the state of Detroit Public Schools, the League wanted Michiganders to take a hard look at how racial inequality impacts their communities and learn about ways to make change.
At the forum, representatives from business, government and advocacy groups met to discuss topics like solutions for cities in crisis and the media’s role in reporting on race.
Rinku Sen, a national advocate for racial justice with Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation, was the keynote speaker at the forum.
“Racial justice is a concern for every person in the United States, and involves and engages all of our communities,” she said. “And Michigan, of course, as a state has its own history of racial inequity.”
Jacobs said issues like the Flint water crisis and struggles in Detroit Public Schools are symptomatic of a larger problem in Michigan.
“Those, we feel, are really canaries in the coal mine,” she said. “They’re examples of the fact that we need to start looking at issues and policies with a race equity lens. And start applying race equity tools, for example, to decisions that are made in Lansing.”
Sen suggested not using code words like "inner cities" when talking about people of color. Instead, she said people should talk plainly about race.