The City of Lansing has formed a new group to implement a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan, Mayor Andy Schor announced Thursday.
Schor first announced proposals for a long-term plan to address systemic injustice and reform in June after receiving calls for his resignation.
Panelist Angela Waters Austin called for Schor to resign in early June during a Black Lives Matter Lansing webinar. Protesters again called for his resignation days later while gathering outside of his house, asking for police non-bias and de-escalation training.
Schor received further pushback from protestors after proposing to divert $100,000 of the city’s nearly $47 million-dollar 2020 police budget. A move that several local leaders said didn’t go far enough.
In early July Lansing City Council Member, Brandon Betz, called for the budget to be cut in half over five years. Though some residents spoke against the proposal it largely received supportive public comments.
LPD Chief Green said the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan is an opportunity to increase the dialogue with the public.
“On a local level, we have to explain what we do as far as our policies and procedures and that’s where we’re at right now,” Green said. “With the tragic death of George Floyd it has given us an opportunity to take a more systematic review of all our policies and procedures and to analyze exactly what our community members want out of us, and their police department, moving forward.”
To begin the process, attorney and consultant on racial justice and equity, Teresa Bingman, created the Mayor’s Racial Justice and Equity Alliance (MRJEA), according to a press release. This group is headed by Bingman, Schor, Green, and Lansing Director of Human Relations and Community Services Kim Cole.
It also includes a steering committee of members of the mayor’s cabinet and chairs of city boards, authorities and commissions, an advisory committee of city representatives and residents and advisory subcommittees of “subject matter experts from across the community.”
The plan is separated into three phases.
In phase one the MRJEA will conduct research through environmental scans and a set of meetings and focus groups, according to the press release.
They will use the data collected in phase one to develop police Use of Force policies and a Racial Justice and Equity Plan in phase two.
During the final phase, the MRJEA and Lansing Board of Police Commissioners “Will share approved police reforms, including Use of Force policies and a Racial Justice and Equity Plan with the community. Throughout the year, education and training will be provided and community input will be received to inform updates,” the release said.
Schor welcomes the public to provide feedback through a survey and community input meetings.
“Anybody is welcome to provide input and feedback,” he said. “We’re going to take information from everybody. Anybody in the city, anybody who works or lives in the city. This is newly heightened here in Lansing, and the nation and the world and we’re addressing it.”
The first community input meeting on July 23 will cover racial justice and equity, on August 6 the second meeting will cover the Lansing Police Department budget and on August 20 the third meeting will again cover racial justice and equity.
A community input survey link is also posted on the website.