Ingham County’s Human Services Committee has recommended a candidate for the Racial Equity Task Force.
The committee unanimously moved to recommend Amirika Richardson to the task force at the Human Services meeting in Lansing on April 3.
Richardson was interviewed by Ingham County Commissioner and Human Services Committee Chairperson Todd Tennis during the meeting. Richardson said she wishes to bring the community together and collaborate with different organizations.
“I love talking to people, I love listening to people and hearing their side of things and being collaborative. It’s not just talking and listening, it’s bringing that collaborative effort together,” Richardson said.
The Board of Commissioners created the task force in 2020 after adopting a resolution that declared racism a public health crisis. Commissioner Tennis said the board hoped the resolution could help the community improve incrementally.
“We tasked them with providing research and solutions, not that we’re going to solve racism overnight,” Tennis said. “But if they could provide some feedback to the board on how we can change county policies to be more inclusive and to push back against individual bias that oftentimes goes unnoticed, we could change everything from how we screen our employees to how we implement our purchasing policies.”
Richardson said the issues she is most passionate about, include providing opportunities for community members with disabilities and those of different ethnicities.
“I think it’s important for us to be aware of different disabilities and how to be respectful of the neurodiverse population. It’s also very important to me to create opportunities for afrolatinas. Being a member of that community myself, there are opportunities that I feel that we miss out because we don’t know of resources that are available,” Richardson said.
Now that the recommendation has been made, it must be approved by the County Democratic Caucus later this month before Richardson can be officially installed.
“At the next Democratic Caucus meeting we’ll discuss various people who were interviewed and we’ll listen to the committee chairs and other members of the committee who did the interview. At that point, someone will make a recommendation,” Tennis said.
Members of the Racial Equity task force are appointed for three-year terms. There is no official term limit on how many times a member can serve.
Richardson received the recommendation from the committee and said she wants the task force to both be advocates and communicate with the community.
“I think it’s awareness and making sure that we are creating action items and being a part of that action to help be part of the positive moving forward,” Richardson said. “We don’t want to just sit around just talk about things, but we want to include the community and make sure they know what we’re doing behind the scenes.”