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Grosse Pointe City approves resolution against racism

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 23, 2020


GROSSE POINTE CITY — As protests and discussions over systemic racism in America continue, Grosse Pointe City leaders have put their stance on the issue in writing.

The Grosse Pointe City Council June 15 unanimously approved a resolution condemning racism and racial injustice, as well as voicing support for inclusion and diversity.

Mayor Sheila Tomkowiak read the resolution, which reads, in part: “We declare that the City of Grosse Pointe is committed to fostering a welcoming and inclusive community for all people, where everyone is treated equally, with justice, dignity and respect. We commit the City of Grosse Pointe to equity, diversity and inclusion because these values are proper and just, and they result in a stronger community. We believe that engagement, interaction and fair treatment of all people fosters unity, increases understanding, and promotes respect for differences. We believe in a community where everyone belongs and everyone matters.”

City Councilman Terence Thomas, who crafted the resolution, is the first African American to serve on the Grosse Pointe City Council.

“My country is going through a lot right now, and I’m really proud of our acknowledgement of (it),” Thomas said. “I remember Grosse Pointe as a kid. … I never thought I’d feel welcome here.”

Thomas and his family moved to the City in 2007. He said the City “knows it’s not perfect,” but it has also been welcoming to them.

“I couldn’t think of any better place to raise a family,” Thomas said. “I’m really proud to serve on this council and to be a resident of this community.”

City Councilman Donald Parthum Jr. praised Thomas for working on the resolution.

“Terence, thank you for taking the lead,” Parthum said. “It’s something we need to say. I think we’ve come a long way (as a community), but we’ve (still) got a long way to go.”

City Councilman Daniel Williams was also among those who thanked Thomas and the rest of the council for the resolution.

“I think it’s important for every community in this country to step up and address these issues,” Williams said.

City Councilwoman Maureen Juip remarked on what a “moving moment” it was for her and her family to take part in a protest for equality and racial justice with her neighbors, recently, along Kercheval Avenue in the Village, and she also thanked Thomas for his leadership.

City Manager Pete Dame said by email he believed the City was the first of the Pointes to approve such a resolution.

Other city leaders, including Grosse Pointe Park Mayor Robert Denner, have vocally condemned racism during recent meetings.