EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A 15-year-old boy’s essay has inspired a south-central Michigan city to apologize for decades of racism.
East Lansing’s City Council recently passed a resolution apologizing for racism that people experienced in the city until about 50 years ago, the Lansing State Journal reported.
Many black prospective home buyers were dissuaded from purchasing homes in the area until the late 1960s. Legislation passed in 1968 that allowed people of color to purchase homes in the area.
“The City Council and City of East Lansing profoundly acknowledges, apologizes for, and condemns all racially motivated, discriminatory or exclusionary aspects of the city’s history and deeply regrets any pain or suffering such policies may have caused to any person,” the resolution reads.
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Alex Hosey’s essay called “Why I Sit” prompted the resolution. The East Lansing High School freshman and basketball player wrote the essay to explain why he doesn’t stand during the national anthem at games.
“As an African-American male I believe that if I did stand at this time I would be disrespecting myself and my people,” Hosey wrote. “The reason for this is because of our nation’s long history of discrimination toward people of color that continues to this day.”
Officials will meet with Hosey and others starting this spring to create annual community conversations to educate residents about the city’s past.
“You can’t have one conversation and be done,” said councilmember Aaron Stephens. “It’s a constant and ever-moving force you have to keep fighting for.”
Information from: Lansing State Journal, http://www.lansingstatejournal.com