Letter to the Editor: Mayor Rosalynn Bliss addresses the GRCC community

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John Rothwell | The Collegiate

Hello, GRCC Community.

I begin my term as mayor of Grand Rapids with great excitement – and with a great sense of responsibility. I recognize I am standing on the shoulders of many great leaders who have come before me, and I am honored to follow in their footsteps and help chart a course for our future.

Our future, however, does not rest on my shoulders alone. I need every person in our community to be at the table – whether it’s attending City Commission meetings, serving on a board or task force, planting trees and cleaning up the river, among many other ways to keep Grand Rapids moving forward in a positive direction.

That’s where you come in. The GRCC community plays an important role in shaping the future of our city.

As I outlined in my first State of the City address, Grand Rapids has much to be proud of and to celebrate. We have strong economic development, an entrepreneurial spirit that believes anything is possible, unique and dynamic neighborhoods, a natural resource that runs through our downtown and a commitment to sustainability, among many other assets.

But we are not without challenges. We must tackle several issues that are keeping us from being the most vibrant, effective and inclusive city we can be.

For Grand Rapids to be THE place for everyone, we need to nurture hope, innovation, inclusion and a sense of possibility. We need a strong and growing local economy where both small and large businesses thrive as they create opportunity for all. That means we need people with dreams and solutions to problems – and the willingness to take risks and work hard.

Grand Rapids Community College is full of dreamers and risk takers who are poised to have a lasting impact on our city for generations to come.

We also need housing that is affordable for everyone. I am committed to making sure that anyone who wants to live in our city – whether you’re a college student, young professional, senior, blue-collar worker or family of six – can afford to do so and can proudly call Grand Rapids home.

We need strong relationships between the community and police, ensuring that all residents feel empowered and respected. This calls for a strategic action plan to eliminate racial disparities. The Bob and Aleicia Woodrick Diversity Learning Center at GRCC is a great model and resource for the tough work that lies ahead to ensure that Grand Rapids is a welcoming and inclusive place for everyone.

As we work to better understand the racial disparities that exist in our City, it is important that we look back and learn from the past. To that end, I am encouraging the community to join me in reading “A City Within a City” by Todd E. Robinson. This book provides a historical framework to help us learn from our past and appreciate the context of our current state – and it provides hope for the future. I hope you will read this book and join me this summer at a community forum to discuss its message and lessons.

I also encourage you to watch my State of the City address at mayorbliss.org and join the dialogue about how – working together – we can make Grand Rapids a city of opportunity for all.

As your mayor, I am committed to working with the community on these issues. I hope you will join me in moving the needle and making a lasting impact on the city we love.

In partnership,
Mayor Rosalynn Bliss

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