The Grand Rapids Chamber collectively recognizes and celebrates the many contributions of Black Americans, today, throughout #BlackHistoryMonth, and every day. In principle and practice, the Chamber believes in the value and power of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Without diversity equity and inclusion, we limit our talent, resources, and the business opportunities necessary to thrive in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. We support these values through our policies, practices, membership services, and community engagement. The Chamber strives to make West Michigan a thriving and prosperous West Michigan for ALL.
February is Black History Month, a month every year where we honor and celebrate the lives, contributions, and achievements of the many Black American leaders throughout American history. At the Grand Rapids Chamber, we are inspired by, honor, and celebrate the many Black and African American leaders at the national, state, and local levels, both past, and present. We honor the steadfast, worthwhile, and determined efforts of our Black neighbors and community trustees working for justice, equity, and opportunity in Grand Rapids. This year, in particular, we join all Americans in honoring and mourning the Black lives that were taken and bodies broken due to police brutality: Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Jacob Blake, and too many more. We also celebrate and mourn the lives of powerful, influential American Civil Rights leaders like John Lewis and C.T. Vivian whose lives were dedicated to justice and equality. Last, but certainly not least, we must remember and mourn the many lives lost to COVID-19 due to health disparities and inequities.
As Americans of all creeds and races, we have an obligation to come together to understand and educate ourselves from the lessons taught by the blood, sweat, and tears and by the joys, achievements, and contributions of the many important figures of Black History Month. By learning from the past and present struggles, strife, and successes of our Black and African American friends and neighbors, we move that much closer to the promise of America. Every step on this journey has been hard-fought by so many before us, and we are called to continue their walk daily toward greater equity, justice, opportunity, and equality for all in the shared American journey toward a more perfect union.