On Wednesday, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-163, which creates the Black Leadership Advisory Council. The governor also signed Executive Directive 2020-9, recognizing racism as a public health crisis and taking initial steps to address it within state government.
Under the Executive Directive, the governor asked MDHHS to make health equity a major goal, as well as required implicit bias training for all state employees.
Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II said, “Today, we take the much-needed and long-overdue step of recognizing racism as a public health crisis. It is only after we have fully defined the injustice that we can begin to take steps to replace it with a greater system of justice that enables all Michiganders to pursue their fullest dreams and potential.”
The Black Leadership Advisory Council will be included among a set of diverse ethnic commissions within the state of Michigan. Although African Americans are the largest racial minority in the state, this Council is the first of its kind in Michigan to elevate Black leaders and representatives.
The Council will act in an advisory capacity to the governor and develop, review, and recommend policies and actions designed to eradicate and prevent discrimination and racial inequity in Michigan. To accomplish this goal, the Council is charged with:
- Identifying state laws, or gaps in state law, that create or perpetuate inequities, with the goal of promoting economic growth and wealth equity for the Black community.
- Collaborating with the governor’s office and the Black community to promote legislation and regulation that ensures equitable treatment of all Michiganders, and seeks to remedy structural inequities in this state.
- Serving as a resource for community groups on issues, programs, sources of funding, and compliance requirements within state government in order to benefit and advance the interests of the Black community.
- Promoting the cultural arts within the Black community through coordinated efforts, advocacy, and collaboration with state government.
- Providing other information or advice or taking other actions as requested by the governor.
Housed within the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, the Black Leadership Advisory Council will consist of 16 voting members representing Black leadership in economics, public policy, health and wellness, technology, the environment, agriculture, arts and culture, and more. It will also product an annual report on its activities.
To apply to the Black Leadership Advisory Council visit Michigan.gov/appointments and click “Black Leaders Advisory Council” from the drop menu of the application. Applications are due by Wednesday, August 19th.