Howell Chasing Away Racism Legacy

By: Beth Shayne Email
By: Beth Shayne Email

"We are a predominately all white community," Howell Area Chamber of Commerce president Pat Convery says, "There is no way of denying that."

Facts and history are what they are, but perception--a busy group of people in Howell, believe--can change and will.

Through much of Michigan, Howell is known as the home to former KKK Grand Dragon Robert E. Miles. In fact, he lived in Cohort Township nearby, but that fact is lost on many people.

"It's sort of like moving a battleship," Convery describes the process of change, "It's very slow." She says more and more, she sees people of color and hears different languages in the area.

Convery's Chamber of Commerce has pledged itself to diversity. The Livingston Diversity Council is leading the charge. Students at the Howell High School even have a diversity club. They all believe in change.

"Every town has its history," junior Gabby Gonzalez says, "but I think we should concentrate on promoting diversity and good stuff."

That good stuff includes a book club, discussion groups, and a very well attended MLK event on Friday.

"We're being proactive," Convery says. "When you get over that stigma of 'I can't say that' and you actually say it, good things happen."

The students tells us things are far from perfect, but Howell's reputation is not deserved.

"It's a global problem, it's just going to be that way," Gonzalez says.

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