During the Lansing City Council meeting on June 22, many concerned citizens of Lansing took the floor to express their opinion that Andy Schor should resign as Lansing’s mayor. Among them was founder and executive director of the Firecracker Foundation, Tashmica Torok, who was disappointed in how he has handled his mistakes.
“I’d like to address our mayor, and just say that I have been incredibly disappointed with your leadership in terms of the anti-racism work that we need in our community right now, and from one leader to the next, when you do harm to a community, you acknowledge the harm, you apologize and then you take the steps to fix it,” said Torok. “That takes humility and it takes leadership, and if we’re moving into a season where we are naming racism as a public health crisis, then we need a leader who can take on that challenge with authenticity and integrity, and I don’t believe that Andy Schor is that person.”
Over the past weeks, people of Lansing have been calling for the resignation of Schor. Lansing citizens have been gathering outside of Schor’s house to protest his use of the city’s budget, as well as suspected racism within his administration. Schor cut the police budget by $100,000, but protestors are not satisfied with that amount.
Many of those citizens concerned with the police budget were in attendance of the city council meeting held via zoom due to COVID-19. Charla Burnett, founder of Organizing Together, said that the city budget needs to be spread out to be more effective; noting that plans to fight substance abuse and addiction would be a better use of the money spent on the police.
“Over half of our city budget is for the police, while only 11.6% is for human services,” said Burnett. “If we’re punishing people in our community, and we’re not providing them with the tools to be able to overcome their disabilities and meet their needs, how is punitive measures going to them? Who is that protecting? It’s not protecting the community. So if you’re wondering why everyone is calling for mayor Schor’s resignation, it’s because this is insulting.”
Lansing resident Michael Lynn Jr. said he also disapproves of Schor’s dealings with the police, and the city’s budget, but added that he also believes Schor is using a public relations team to help fix the Lansing community’s perception of him.
“He’s given us a whole lot of PR moments where he’s out here walking with black folks, taking pictures, candid pictures with our other state reps, and our other elected officials that we have elevated to that level, and kind of planning himself in places to be seen as somebody who is empathetic to black people,” said Lynn. “It’s not working, I would like for it to stop, and again, he won’t. So given the fact that Andy Schor won’t resign, he won’t take what the people are asking of him, I’m pretty sure that the protests and rallies are going to continue until he does.”
While some residents criticized his public relations, or his handling of the police funding, others questioned his leadership abilities. Lansing citizen Heather Patler-Holguin said that she doesn’t think Schor is the right person to lead a population as diverse as Lansing’s.
“We have an amazing culture here in Lansing, and we’re really on a bouncing black, so to say, to do amazing things because of the culture of Lansing,” said Patler-Holguin. “We’re one of the most diverse cultures in Michigan. Unfortunately he has not proven to be a leader that can lead such a diverse population”