MASON, Mich. (WLNS) – A Mason city council member is calling foul after a majority of members vote against creating a “Malcolm X Day of Observation”.
While city council member Rita Vogel who called for the day of observance said this is a matter of cultural representation, city leaders who voted against it said they are concerned with how the proposal was written.
“Connecting all the dots to a historic, iconic civil rights leader that was known internationally, this is the jam right now,” said Vogel.
Vogel said her push to create a “Malcolm X Day of Observation” is just one of the many resolutions she has presented calling for the recognition of minority groups in the city.
On February 6, she presented the resolution remembering the civil rights leader’s boyhood years spent in Mason.
However, with no discussion, the vote failed two to six.
Malcolm X arrived in Lansing at the age of two. He later moved to Mason where he played for the high school football team.
One of the no votes included Mason Mayor Russ Whipple. He said the city has never held an annual observance day for anyone and that Malcolm X’s time in the city was short-lived with little direct impact on the community.
“I don’t think him just living here elevated his stature to that of someone we recognize each year. I mean our city is named after Stevens St. Mason and we don’t have a Mason day,” said Whipple.
Whipple said another concern is the way the resolution was written. He said the context sends the message that mason has a history of racism and white supremacy.
“It just doesn’t fit what I know about this town and it also doesn’t fit what I hear from the minority people who live here of what they think of this town,” he said.
Vogel said if the language was the issue, it was not brought up during the meeting. She said while the failed vote was frustrating, she’s pushing back on the idea the resolution was unwarranted.
Vogel said she has seen an outpouring of support from people outside of the council. As for Mayor Whipple, he said he does hope the discussion centered around the vote is calm and collected.