Grand Rapids Urban League President and CEO Joe Jones
statement concerning the Death of Malik Carey:
Malik Carey lost his life on May 3rd, and for that my heart breaks. I’m praying for Mr. Carey’s family and want them to know that many in the community are mourning the loss. I know that the incident is still being investigated and that the investigation is being led by the Michigan State Police since the shooting involved a member of the Grand Rapids Police Department. I want to ask that we not dwell on Mr. Carey’s past. This practice of bringing up any past misdeeds of the deceased is not productive nor is it respectful to the family and friends he has left behind. Regardless of any past transgressions, we must remember that Mr. Carey was someone’s son, perhaps someone’s brother, and most assuredly someone’s friend. Let us all respect his personhood and the joy his presence brought to his loved ones.
My challenge to the residents and stakeholders of Grand Rapids is to join in the effort of doing the work of making our city a more equitable, just and peaceful city where more people can prosper regardless of their genetic code or their zip code. A city where tragedies like this don’t become the norm. As the leader of the Grand Rapids Urban League, I’m acutely aware of the challenges that African Americans and other historically marginalized communities face not just here in Grand Rapids, but in every urban center throughout the country. My vision is to have neighborhoods in Grand Rapids serve as beacons of hope from the day a child is born until the day he or she starts their climb up the career ladder. I envision a city where guns are not present on the streets at alarming rates and where our law enforcement officers are not having to make split second decisions about using their weapons because the level of crime is minuscule due to the overabundance of opportunities for all.
We can be a city where we see each other as having inherent value and where we practice empathy and not do unto others as they do unto you if it will cause harm.
Something just isn’t right when a young man, a child who has lived for 18 years, is spoken of in the past tense. I didn’t know Malik Carey, but I know countless other Malik Carey’s, our community’s sons and daughters who live and breathe the same air as we do in Grand Rapids and their presence needs to matter to all of us. What exactly can we do as a community to make life more abundant, more meaningful and just simply longer for them?
President and CEO
Grand Rapids Urban League