Hundreds of Ypsilanti residents filled the city’s high school auditorium Monday night for a community forum on policing and violence.
Larry Young is an Ann Arbor resident and an youth counselor.
“I’m glad we had a meeting, but I’m saddened because I know that after we leave here in a few days everyone’s going to forget about what’s been done and what’s been said and then it’s going to happen again and we’ll have another meeting, another discussion, another life will be lost. Just because of the color of their skin. It’s not right. It’s sad. I grew up in a world thinking I could be whoever I wanted to be. As I grew, I found out I don’t have that liberty, I don’t have that.”
Ypsilanti City Councilwoman and Mayor Pro-tem Lois Richardson says the forum was a chance for the public to express their frustration with law enforcement. She says, “I thought it went very, very well. For it to have been almost spontaneous, I think it has gone very well.”
Richardson says the violence in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, and Dallas have shown the need for the community to talk to each other and to their representatives.
”Over the weekend I kept thinking, 'We need to have conversations in the city.' And I think this can be the beginning of having conversations, and I mean having conversations where groups sit down and we talk to each other and begin to get to know each other. I can’t know you or know your culture and know where you came from if we don’t talk.”
Next, the Ypsilanti Community Relations and Black Lives Matter Task Force will give recommendations to the city for possible changes to the Ypsilanti Police Department. Those recommendations will be discussed at future Ypsilanti City Council meetings.