Activists unhappy with the City of Lansing’s spending plan

Activists not happy with COVID spending plan
Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 5:51 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - “Policing is not the answer. We need more community-driven things, for us, by us,” said Carrington Kelsey, Black Lives Matter Lansing.

That’s the message activists delivered to the Lansing City Council as it prepared to approve millions of dollars in spending from the “American Rescue Plan.” Black Lives Matter is criticizing the city for how it’s distributing the money.

“It’s an injustice for all of us because we can see this is the fruit that the mayor’s office is barring right?” said Kelsey. “For smaller community-driven organizations, we have to apply for grants after grants and things and over and over again.”

The NAACP, the Assembly of Pastors, and other community groups asked for a cut of the money from the American Rescue Plan. They thought they had reached an agreement with Mayor Andy Schor.

But the city council’s “Ways and Means” committee cut funding to many of them. Schor said the council wants the focus to be on city-owned programs.

“Council again removed those original dollars and created a new proposal that will have a fund once it passes tonight, it’s got to pass first,“ said Mayor Schor. “If it passes tonight, we will set up a structure where people can ask for dollars, and then we will evaluate. Not everyone is going to get everything that they want.”

Black Lives Matter points to funding proposals for the police and fire departments and records management system. They are set to get almost $6 million combined.

While at the same time, the NAACP, the Assembly of Pastors, and Eastside Community programs are looking at getting nothing after thinking they were in line for almost $1.8 million.

Dulles Copedge, the president of the NAACP Lansing Chapter, said the money was going to fund several community programs.

“It’s an injustice because these funds were really kind of designated for community programs and we talked earlier for the need of community engagement for youth particularly,” said Copedge. “Youth engagement where funding can get to these individuals to assist them to be better people in our community to actually contribute.”

President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law last year. The $1.9 trillion bill increased the child tax credit, provided the $14,000 COVID checks and gave schools money to reopen safely.


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