Eaton County Signs Resolution Recognizing The Significance of Black History Month
Sunday, March 5, 2017

 Dr. Brian L. Metcalf, Ph. D., Superintendent of the Grand Ledge School District, accepts a copy of the resolution from the Eaton County Board of Commissioners presented by Commissioner Howard T. Spence. This historic resolution recognizes February as Black History month in Eaton County.  It encourages Eaton County school districts to focus on the important contributions to the county and country from a wide variety of diverse backgrounds and histories.

GRAND LEDGE, MI --On February 15, 2017, the Eaton County Board of Commissioners made history by unanimously adopting a "Resolution Recognizing The Significance of Black History Month In Eaton County, Michigan."  It was drafted and proposed by Eaton County Commissioner Howard T. Spence, who represents Delta Township residents.

"Eaton County had never recognized or issued any resolution recognizing the importance and contribution of black residents here in our county," said Spence. "I thought that particularly in light of some of the unrest and misunderstandings which are now in the environment here in mid-Michigan regarding people of different ethnic, religious, and even sexual orientation backgrounds, it would be important for the County Board of Commissioners to step forward to encourage our residents – especially our young people – to learn more about each other and the human relations which are necessary for us to coexist and succeed together in our county, state, and nation." 

 

Commissioner Spence said sometimes the best way to defuse problems and unnecessary tensions among people is to better educate them about who we are – how we are similar, and also how we are different, and the histories of how we got to be who we are today. 

 

Spence added, "I am very big on diversity and inclusion of all of us here in the mid-Michigan area and I saw this formal resolution as one way of having our Board of commissioners to take a leadership role to signal to our residents – especially our young residents – that it is important to be unique and different, but it is also very important for us to get along and show respect to each other."

 

During the past year there have been instances of vandals spray painting racist graffiti on the homes of several minority residents in Delta Township. There also was an incident of similar types of harassment and graffiti spray-painted in Potterville, MI – apparently in reaction to the Potterville High School students having selected a lesbian couple to be "King and Queen" of their homecoming celebration. In both instances, it appears that the perpetrators of the vandalism and hateful language were younger people - some of whom have been apprehended.

 

The resolution adopted by the Eaton County Board of Commissioners states that it: "(1) recognizes the significance of Black History Month as an important time to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of African-Americans in the nation's history as well as here in Eaton County Michigan, and the surrounding areas, and encourages the continued celebration of this month within Eaton County to provide an opportunity for all peoples of Eaton County, Michigan, to learn more about the past and to better understand more of the experiences that have shaped our nation and country and communities; and (2) recognizes that the acknowledgment and understanding of ethnic and racial diversity of the United States and Eaton County enriches and strengthens the nation and our county and communities; and (3) encourages all schools in Eaton County to include in their year-round educational curriculum the history and contributions of African-Americans in the United States and around the world; and (4) reaffirms the policies adopted by Eaton County, Michigan, which encourage and celebrate diversity and inclusion of people of all races and ethnic backgrounds residing in Eaton County."

 

"I was excited that my fellow commissioners were willing to pass this proposed resolution unanimously," said Spence. "I immediately took certified copies of this resolution to the Waverly Community School District and the Grand Ledge School District which are the two school districts which teach students residing in my Commissioner District. I am hoping that actions such as this one taken by the Eaton County Board of Commissioners will help our young people understand that we need to know our past, but we also need to look forward to our future together in these United States of America."

 

The national theme for Black History Month in 2017 was "The Crisis in Black Education."

 

"I hope that the schools and our teachers do take this opportunity to reinforce among our young students the importance of knowing more about each other and getting along. There is a lot of truth to the old saying that to get to know me better, walk a mile in my shoes," said Spence. "I hope that parents and residents throughout the greater Lansing area will take the occasion of Black history month to encourage their educators to teach our kids how we are similar, how we are different, but how we are stronger together." 

 

 

 

 

GRAND LEDGE, MI --On February 15, 2017, the Eaton County Board of Commissioners made history by unanimously adopting a "Resolution Recognizing The Significance of Black History Month In Eaton County, Michigan."  It was drafted and proposed by Eaton County Commissioner Howard T. Spence, who represents Delta Township residents.

 

"Eaton County had never recognized or issued any resolution recognizing the importance and contribution of black residents here in our county," said Spence. "I thought that particularly in light of some of the unrest and misunderstandings which are now in the environment here in mid-Michigan regarding people of different ethnic, religious, and even sexual orientation backgrounds, it would be important for the County Board of Commissioners to step forward to encourage our residents – especially our young people – to learn more about each other and the human relations which are necessary for us to coexist and succeed together in our county, state, and nation." 

 

Commissioner Spence said sometimes the best way to defuse problems and unnecessary tensions among people is to better educate them about who we are – how we are similar, and also how we are different, and the histories of how we got to be who we are today. 

 

Spence added, "I am very big on diversity and inclusion of all of us here in the mid-Michigan area and I saw this formal resolution as one way of having our Board of commissioners to take a leadership role to signal to our residents – especially our young residents – that it is important to be unique and different, but it is also very important for us to get along and show respect to each other."

 

During the past year there have been instances of vandals spray painting racist graffiti on the homes of several minority residents in Delta Township. There also was an incident of similar types of harassment and graffiti spray-painted in Potterville, MI – apparently in reaction to the Potterville High School students having selected a lesbian couple to be "King and Queen" of their homecoming celebration. In both instances, it appears that the perpetrators of the vandalism and hateful language were younger people - some of whom have been apprehended.

 

The resolution adopted by the Eaton County Board of Commissioners states that it: "(1) recognizes the significance of Black History Month as an important time to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of African-Americans in the nation's history as well as here in Eaton County Michigan, and the surrounding areas, and encourages the continued celebration of this month within Eaton County to provide an opportunity for all peoples of Eaton County, Michigan, to learn more about the past and to better understand more of the experiences that have shaped our nation and country and communities; and (2) recognizes that the acknowledgment and understanding of ethnic and racial diversity of the United States and Eaton County enriches and strengthens the nation and our county and communities; and (3) encourages all schools in Eaton County to include in their year-round educational curriculum the history and contributions of African-Americans in the United States and around the world; and (4) reaffirms the policies adopted by Eaton County, Michigan, which encourage and celebrate diversity and inclusion of people of all races and ethnic backgrounds residing in Eaton County."

 

"I was excited that my fellow commissioners were willing to pass this proposed resolution unanimously," said Spence. "I immediately took certified copies of this resolution to the Waverly Community School District and the Grand Ledge School District which are the two school districts which teach students residing in my Commissioner District. I am hoping that actions such as this one taken by the Eaton County Board of Commissioners will help our young people understand that we need to know our past, but we also need to look forward to our future together in these United States of America."

 

The national theme for Black History Month in 2017 was "The Crisis in Black Education."

 

"I hope that the schools and our teachers do take this opportunity to reinforce among our young students the importance of knowing more about each other and getting along. There is a lot of truth to the old saying that to get to know me better, walk a mile in my shoes," said Spence. "I hope that parents and residents throughout the greater Lansing area will take the occasion of Black history month to encourage their educators to teach our kids how we are similar, how we are different, but how we are stronger together." 

 

 

 

 

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