FLINT, Michigan — Residents can now voice their ideas and concerns to the Flint Community Advisory Task Force on Public Safety as part of its ongoing work to provide a bridge between community members and police.
Residents are invited to attend the Task Force’s monthly public meetings via Zoom every 3rd Thursday of the month from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Meetings also are being broadcast live on the Task Force’s Facebook page. The next meeting is Thursday, February 18 at 5:30 p.m.
Mayor Sheldon Neeley suggested creation of the Task Force as part of a comprehensive response to concerns about injustice and racial inequity. He asked Pastor Jeffery Hawkins if he would be willing to lead this community effort. Since then, the Task Force has been selecting members and building its framework.
“Working together is our best tool in both fighting injustice and fighting crime,” Mayor Sheldon Neeley said. “We welcome this community task force’s strong, independent voice as part of our work to continue moving this community forward in a positive direction.”
Residents also can contact the Task Force via email at [email protected] and a website also is being developed.
The Task Force is now 12 members strong and is being co-chaired by Pastor Hawkins and Dr. Debra Furr-Holden. It also includes a host of ex-officio member groups including local police departments and organizations representing wellness, social work, aging, and advocacy.
“We’re proud of the momentum and work of the Task Force to create a platform that continues to build relationships between the community and public safety,” said Pastor Hawkins. “We are encouraged by the committed volunteers and the support from the Flint community.”
The Task Force wants to help elevate the voices of the Flint community while creating a platform to raise issues that allows for ideas and solutions to flourish. It is not intended to be the first stop for a resolution to issues, but it is an outlet for those who feel they’ve exhausted other means to be heard.
“The purpose of this Task Force is to foster a just and equitable community through the collaboration of our community and public safety,” said Dr. Furr-Holden. “We will work in partnership with the City of Flint and local public safety to elevate the community voices and concerns so that we can work together to create a safe community.”
Members of the committee include:
• Co-Chair: Jeffery Hawkins, pastor of Prince of Peace Missionary Baptist Church and member of the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards
• Co-Chair: Dr. Debra Furr-Holden, an epidemiologist who serves as Associate Dean of Public Health Integration at MSU, co-director of Healthy Flint Research Coordinating Center, and co-founder of African American Council in Baltimore City Police Department
• Ralph Arellano, former member of Flint City Council, former member of the Civil Service Commission, director of the Hispanic Technology and Community Center, and a social justice leader in Flint for 50 years
• William Balcer, III, a Flint native, attorney with legal expertise in criminal defense, Civil Rights, and Employment/Labor Law
• Mario DeSean Booker, a Flint native, minister, volunteer, and activist
• Abel Delgado, a Latinx Flint resident, community activist and organizer
• Brandon Ray Jamison, a radio host on Club 93.7 FM and event promoter
• Sherri Miller, a social worker and juvenile justice specialist
• Adrienne Niles, a former after-school site coordinator, Title I parent specialist, and participant in Undoing Racism workshop by the People’s Institute
• Linda Samarah, an artist, community activist, and communications manager for ACCESS, the nation’s largest Arab American community nonprofit
• Holly Underwood, a neighborhood block club activist, and senior center board member
• Estephanie Ward, a graduate of UM-Flint and Mott Community College
Ex-Officio Member Organizations:
• ALPACT – Ron Wiles
• City of Flint Police – Chief Terence Green
• Genesee Health System – Dan Russell
• Kettering University Police – Paul Crane
• MDHHS, Flint Union St. Office – Michael Milks
• Michigan State Police, Flint Post #35 – Yvonne Brantley
• Mott Community College Police – Michael Odette
• Office of the Genesee County Prosecuting Attorney – David Leyton, John Potbury, & Tammy Phillips
• Project ReCAST – Afton Shavers
• University of Michigan-Flint Police – Raymond Hall
• Valley Area Agency on Aging – Yaushica Aubert
• Wellness Services, Inc. – Stevi Atkins
For additional information, contact [email protected].