The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners’ Chair, Roger Bergman, is helping to lead the charge. “Between November and December of 2020, the MSU Extension invited the Ottawa County DEI Office and Board Chair, Roger Bergman to co-present at the orientation for new commissioners“, which was offered to multiple counties, on “the importance of DEI in County work, the role of a commissioner in supporting a DEI Office and the implementation of the DEI Office.”
Michigan cities which have officially joined GARE include the City of Detroit (2019) and the City of Grand Rapids (2016), among several others. Two of Michigan’s state agencies are also members of GARE, MDHHS (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services), and MDCR (Michigan Department of Civil Rights). The MDCR, delving into Michigan’s K-12 education system, completed an Education Equity in Michigan report, last updated March 23, 2021, which included the GARE Racial Equity Toolkit and sample education equity plans from school districts in:
- Okemos, MI
- Portland, OR
- Roseville, MN
- Seattle, WA
Numerous Ottawa County and Michigan schools are now inundated with DEI/Race Equity/Critical Race Theory, similar to the teachings of Ottawa County. Do citizens and parents want schools to use GARE’s model districts of Portland and Seattle, which have seen devastating riots and unrest over the last year— riots and unrest which their city youth have been active participants in, as examples for Michigan schools and Ottawa County?
Conservative Thought Leaders Disagree with Critical Race Theory, as do Ottawa County Residents
Conservative, highly esteemed, minority thought leaders Thomas Sowell, Candace Owens, Bob Woodson of 1776 Unites, Larry Elder, Voddie Bauchman, and Every Black Life Matters, do not agree with the Racial Equity and Critical Race Theory teachings promoted by GARE and Ottawa County under the guise of DEI. Neither does President Trump, or the 1776 Commission formed under his leadership. Minority moms and dads are speaking up at schools boards to make known they oppose these teachings as well.
Christopher Rufo’s investigative journalism into Critical Race Theory training in government and education institutions exposed a Marxist movement to divide America, and Americans are waking up. To counter Rufo’s work, and the public backlash and legislative action which followed, GARE’s parent organization Race Forward published, Guide: Counter-Narrating the Attacks on Critical Race Theory. Race Forward’s guide affirmed the connection between the Race Equity movement and Critical Race Theory, as well as the political nature of Race Equity work.
When confronted on Critical Race Theory (CRT), government bodies and school districts often deny teaching CRT, instead identifying their work under language such as DEI, DEIB, racial equity, racial justice, and Antibias Antiracist work (ABAR), while teaching the core tenants of CRT.
Rufo recently tweeted,
“If your school district teaches any of the following concepts, it’s teaching critical race theory:
Ben Shapiro writes,
“Critical race theory, of course, is not America’s actual history. It is a perverse worldview, unsupportable by the evidence, in which all of America’s key institutions are inextricably rooted in white supremacy; it is an activist campaign demanding the destruction of those institutions. The founders of CRT have written as much.”
“The grassroots pushback against CRT is rooted in the best of the American tradition: a rejection of racial essentialism in favor of individualism, an enthusiastic endorsement of agency rather than determinism, a willingness to stand united against tribalism. We all ought to fight those who have hijacked and weaponized our institutions against all of these traditionally American ideals. Anything less would be an abdication of the trust we have been given — a trust that has resulted in liberty, equality and prosperity beyond imagining for nearly all of human history.”
Parental outcry is increasing in Ottawa County and across the nation, as parents make it known they do not want progressive agendas and Racial Equity/Critical Race Theory content in their children’s schools. The Racial Equity movement and CRT labels children by the color of their skin and divides them into groups as irredeemable “oppressors”, or “oppressed” and lacking agency to accomplish their dreams. These teachings are racist, and emotionally and intellectually abusive to children. Teaching children and residents their country has an evil foundation built on evil power structures which must be torn down has no place in our schools or our County government. An increasing number of states are passing legislation to ban Critical Race Theory, and legislation was recently introduced in Michigan to ban it from schools here.
As residents and taxpayers who love all Americans, we desire truthful data on and true solutions to challenges faced by diverse people groups, so we can apply best efforts and tax dollars to opportunities which provide true impact. There may be areas of concern and potential solutions we all agree on, and some we do not. That does not lessen our respect for others. We simply have a different point of view, which can prove beneficial, just as President Trump’s initiatives on jobs, opportunity zones, and criminal justice reform greatly benefitted minority families and communities.
Manipulating and censoring conversation and beliefs around race and equity in a manner which leaves no room for discussion—or opportunity for redemption due to one’s skin color, sex, or beliefs, in order to mold the minds of children, dominate policy decisions, gain political advantage, tear down our nation’s structure, and transform a County and Country with divisive ideology, is inexcusable.
Ottawa County is rooted in Judeo-Christian values and belief in America as an exceptional nation blessed by God. America’s freedom is fragile and needs protection. We believe black lives don’t just “matter.” Like all lives, they are sacred and of great worth, because God created each of us in His image. We believe in the good intent and personal agency of Ottawa County residents, and that the core beliefs of our people— including our love for others, make our County an exceptional place to live. We do not support dividing our people and children by teaching them they are “oppressors” or “oppressed” based on their skin color.
We call the Ottawa County Commissioners back to the core values of the citizens who elected them, and ask that they dismantle the DEI/Race Equity Department which is spreading division in our County. Should they wish to continue to promote Race Equity and Critical Race Theory, we ask they personally partner with progressive nonprofits and foundations who promote this ideology, and refrain from using taxpayer dollars, buildings, infrastructure, or County employment to advance a divisive Marxist ideology and the platform of progressive Democrat socialists.
We ask the Ottawa County Commissioners who have genuine concern about issues facing minority residents to consult or reference the work of Conservative minority thought leaders, including Thomas Sowell, Candace Owens, Bob Woodson of 1776 Unites, Larry Elder, Voddie Bauchman, and Every Black Life Matters, who have identified problems and proposed solutions consistent with the values and beliefs of the citizens of Ottawa County, rather than promote the agenda of the progressive left.
We share the dream and aspirations of Martin Luther King, Jr.,
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
We won’t let his dream die on our watch.