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MDCR Director Urges Flint to Help Lead America in Recovering from Systemic Racism and Implicit Bias
January 17, 2019
Flint, MI – At a Thursday, Jan. 17th address to the 40th Annual Citywide Tribute Dinner in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Michigan Department of Civil Rights Director Dr. Agustin V. Arbulu called on the legacy of the civil rights icon to encourage Flint to play a leading role in creating a new form of policy and decision making for the state and the country.
“Martin Luther King, Jr. left us a deep and complex legacy of calling on the better angels of the American Promise,” Arbulu said. He acknowledged that Dr. King’s promise, that all men are created equal, has not yet come to fruition.
Arbulu reminded attendees of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission’s groundbreaking report “The Flint Water Crisis: Systemic Racism Through the Lens of Flint,” which outlines the more than a century of racialized laws and socialization that laid the ground work for the crisis.
To prevent another catastrophic situation like the Flint Water Crisis from happening again, Arbulu encouraged Flint to help “develop a system of decision making that directly undermines the implicit bias of centuries of white supremacy and systemic racism.”
Arbulu’s clarion call was delivered in a speech titled “A Great Nation is a Compassionate Nation.” Arbulu used the speech to build on Dr. King’s celebrated quote, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,” in reflecting on the healing of systemic racism both in Flint and the county.
But Arbulu also assured the residents of Flint that MDCR will “stand with you in standing up and speaking out against a broken system.”
“We will be by your side as together we divine new approaches to democracy – approaches which call us to not just simple equality, but to equity and compassion for all people.”
The complete text of the speech can be accessed here.
The Michigan Department of Civil Rights, the operational arm of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, is charged with investigating and resolving discrimination complaints and works to prevent discrimination through educational programs that promote voluntary compliance with civil rights laws. The Department also provides information and services to businesses on diversity initiatives and equal employment law. For more information on the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, go to www.michigan.gov/mdcr.