Public invited to address disparities among Black community in Washtenaw County

PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP, MI — Activists and public officials will gather to discuss disparities among the Black community in Washtenaw County.

Activists will focus on five key areas at the ” Getting Real About Race” event, including housing, employment, education, health care and the criminal justice system in the county. It will run from 2-6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17 at Lillie Park, 4365 Platt Road in Ann Arbor. Anyone interested is encouraged to register online.

“It’s one thing to know there’s a problem but there’s a whole other element to put some solutions in place. In Washtenaw County, we’ve been protesting, we have people of all different races coming together. While marching is definitely a part of it, we wanted individuals to know there’s another layer of work that needs to be done,” said Trische Duckworth, founder and executive director of Survivors Speak, a nonprofit leading the event.

Policing is another major topic Duckwork hopes to discuss.

“A lot of people think that community and police interactions are great and they’re not. On the eastern side, West Willow (and) Superior Township…there are two officers we reported…two police officers pulling people over for nothing. Patting people down, just really terrorizing neighborhoods,” Duckworth said. “They need to be in our neighborhoods empowering our youth.”

Part of that includes condemning systemic racism, Duckworth continued.

“We’re going to have a part two where we’re going to hear from a historian that walks us through these atrocities that happened here in Washtenaw County,” Duckworth said about the event.

“There’s been no clear legislation to assist African Americans since the Civil Rights Act. While we were fighting for civil rights, we should’ve fought for human rights,” Duckworth said. “We have to heal how we are portrayed how we are viewed as African Americans. We can’t do this alone … together, we can make a powerful impact here in Washtenaw County.

Guests expected to be at the event include Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor, Ypsilanti Mayor Lori Richardson, Pittsfield Township Supervisor Mandy Grewal, Ypsilanti Township Supervisor Brenda Stumbo, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell and Abdul El-Sayed, according to the event page.

Ypsilanti is also hosting two virtual town halls on community policing this month. The public is invited to tune in on Tuesday, Oct. 13 and 27 and make comments during a designated time. View the streaming information for the Tuesday, Oct. 13 event here and Oct. 27 here.

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