MASON, Mich. (WLNS) – Two weeks ago, the Mason City Council voted down a resolution to create a Malcolm X Day of Observance and several people brought their concerns about the decision to Monday’s meeting.
Several public comments made at the city council meeting argued that the council made the wrong choice, and should have voted in favor of the resolution.
Malcolm X spent much of his childhood in Lansing, East Lansing and went to high school in Mason.
“Two wonderful girls, who we are raising like race didn’t matter and for the kid that looks like me, that has worked well in this community. However, it did not prepare my other daughter whose skin is a little darker than mine,” said Jennifer Schlosser, a parent that lives in Mason.
Schlosser was one of several residents who shared their stories at the meeting. They said city leaders are ignoring the perspectives of Mason’s diverse population.
Some speakers mentioned that they have heard “racial chants” at sporting events, and have witnessed racial tension between community members.
Councilmember Rita Vogel submitted the original resolution calling for a Malcolm X Day of Observance. She said while she was glad to hear the community come out and support the idea, she feels like fellow council members are not listening.
“It’s just one thing that leadership doesn’t want to take zero neutrality on and make a strong message to the public that this is what we stand for,” Vogel said.
Mayor Russell Whipple said the claims brought up about what’s going on at Mason High School and between community members, fall outside of the scope of the city council.
“I wouldn’t want the school system to tell the city of Mason how to run its operations, and I am not going to tell them how to run theirs. It’s a good organization, it’s tough to do it,” Whipple said.
Whipple said he understands the concerns but believes city officials should focus on matters concerning city government.
“That’s my challenge to everybody, show us there’s a problem the city of Mason can affect.”
Council member Vogel said she plans to renew her call for a Malcolm X Day of Observance in May to mark the civil rights leader’s birthday.