The Huntington Woods City Commission is concerned about misleading statements regarding the City’s Public Safety Department offered by a group that calls itself Huntington Woods for Black Lives (HW4BL). The group is not affiliated with the City.
Committed to ensuring that the City of Huntington Woods is an anti-racist, welcoming place to live and work, there are many programs, plans, and initiatives currently in the works to make this goal a reality. In a proactive effort to devise a strategy and actions to make the City an anti-racist hub, we convened a committee of interested Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) residents dedicated to bringing transparency to everything that we do. From that effort an Anti-Racism Plan was adopted in October 2020. To provide additional transparency about the City’s Public Safety Department budget, polices and operations, the City has partnered with Wayne State University on an informational presentation. That project is currently underway, and more information will be forthcoming in the City’s weekly e-newsletter.
In the interim, the City Commission has no plan to reduce funding to our Public Safety Department that we feel provides a vital role to our community providing not only police but fire and first responder functions for our citizens.
While we recognize the First Amendment rights of individuals and groups to voice their concerns in public forums, the City disagrees with the recent infographics and posts interpreting data on traffic warnings and citations issued by the Public Safety Department. The information presented questionable percentages from a random swath of Southeast Michigan’s drivers, including selecting the data sets that fit a skewed narrative. The posts also do not acknowledge the racial diversity of our Public Safety Department with nearly 25% of the Department represented by BIPOC. In addition, we are also concerned about their recent communications that misrepresent the City’s Antiracism Plan and that HW4BL uses the term “Black Lives” with no known Black residents represented in membership.
The City has a long history of partnering with citizens on matters of communal interest and urgency, and we are dedicated to continuing that important legacy that represents the values of Huntington Woods. To that end, we welcome open and transparent discourse regarding questions that trouble residents to explore ways to become more inclusive. We encourage HW4BL to verify and put in context their statistics/facts and work cooperatively with the City and our residents to explore methods to promote and encourage social justice initiatives.