DEI and county board


This letter is in response to the recent Delta County Board of Commissioners meeting held April 9th.

The board was presented with a request from MSU Extension for a 4% annual increase towards helping the county’s 4 H program. The MSU-E 4 H website indicates it is the largest youth development organization in Michigan, providing programming to more than 100,000 youth each year. It allows youth to explore many interests including agriculture, science, technology and other interests.

Commissioner Barron brought up the DEI policy included in MSU-E’s statement packets and refused to approve the requested increase for programming until someone came to explain why DEI is included.

At the July 18, 2023 board meeting, Commissioner Barron went on an uneducated tirade and refused to sign a letter of support for an UPCAP grant because of their DEI policies, referring to DEI as Marxism and indoctrination of citizens. He also stated during this meeting “real racism is against white, straight, Christian males”.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are three different, but interconnected concepts that work together to create an environment of respect, fairness and involve initiatives promoting the equal access, opportunity, employment, and sense of belonging of underrepresented people in the workplace.

Why is DEI coming up in board meetings when programs or agencies are applying for grant funds?

In 2020, after George Floyd was murdered by a white police officer in Minneapolis, diversity initiatives were prompted to provide greater representations in education and communities.

During this time, states, including Michigan, developed initiatives fostering awareness around the area of inequalities in marginalized communities. Corporations, agencies and programs began including DEI in their strategic plans that helped guide them in a direction that drew awareness to employees and those they serve.

Mr. Barron, Mr. Moyle, and Mr. Peterson, if you are going to deny anything that includes DEI coming before the board, you are depriving the most vulnerable in our community.

Any entity receiving funds or support from MDHHS, state or federal governments or universities are required to include DEI in their planning.

Commissioners, are you going to stop supporting Billerud, one of our county’s largest employers, for their DEI policies?

It may be wise for the board to enact DEI policies to help members become more aware of their own biases and better understand the citizens they serve.

These are just a few reasons for the upcoming recall, because these three commissioners are out of touch with the citizens of Delta County and deny the most vulnerable citizens the funding and support they need, to serve their own interests.

On May 7th, vote for Kelli VanGinhoven, Myra Croasdell, and Matt Jensen, who will better serve Delta County citizens.

Lisa Wangrud



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