Governor Gretchen Whitmer invited Flint Mayor, Sheldon Neeley to speak at her press conference today addressing racism in Michigan.

Governor Whitmer gave almost no details as to what her press conference today would be about, so naturally we all panicked thinking that a lockdown was coming. She did talk about the rising Coronavirus numbers, but the focus was on the problems Michigan is having dealing with racisim.

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Governor Whitmer announced that she has declared racism a public health crisis through executive order 2020-9. The primary action of the executive order is to have the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services focus on making health equity a major goal. All state government employees will also be participating in implicit bias training. Governor Whitmer addressed the  topic in the video above, saying.

We must confront systemic racism head on so we can create a more equitable and just Michigan. This is not about one party or person. I hope we can continue to work towards building a more inclusive and unbiased state that works for everyone.

This press conference was full of new initiatives, and Governor Whitmer even took questions via Zoom from the press following the conference.  One of the other major initiatives that Whitmer announces was the formation of The Black Leadership Advisory Council through executive order 2020-163.

This will be a selected group of people who will help to advise leadership on how black and minority communities are being impacted by public policy. Governor Whitmer talked about the role of the council, saying:

The Council will act in an advisory capacity to the governor and develop, review, and recommend policies and actions designed to eradicate and prevent discrimination and racial inequity in Michigan. To accomplish this goal, the Council is charged with, identifying state laws, or gaps in state law, that create or perpetuate inequities, with the goal of promoting economic growth and wealth equity for the Black community.

Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley is part of the team that is helping to build the council. If you would like to apply to be on the council, you can do so here.