LTE: Column, cartoon were off the mark

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Editor:

Thank you for your work in keeping the community informed and engaged. Your publication is clearly devoted to helping our West Michigan communities thrive and grow.

I am also grateful for the honor of being named one of your “50 Most Influential Women” for 2020. Thank you! It was a delightful and inspiring experience to meet and mingle with so many amazing women who are engaged in making positive changes in our community and the larger world.

As I read your June 29 issue, I was confused and then disappointed to see the cartoon on page 16. The MI View West cartoon by Mr. Garth Kriewall was about systemic racism being “bad for business.” While I realize this might have been meant to be funny or ironic or something else benign, I found it offensive and insensitive. It became more offensive when housed within the guest column by Mr. David Van Andel (“When COVID-19 struck, West Michigan’s generosity and compassion shined”) about the generosity shown by West Michigan — especially Van Andel Institute — in the face of COVID-19.

While it is wonderful that the article applauds frontline health care workers and gives mention to local manufacturers and businesses that re-tooled to address shortages of things like masks and hand sanitizer, it completely ignores the gaps and inequities that leave so many in our communities lacking basic resources and disproportionately impacted by crises, such as COVID-19. In other words, it makes a case for ignoring systemic racism and continuing to accept the scattershot approach of hoping the wealthy will deign to throw some money out to put a Band-aid on a problem.

Thank you for considering my thoughts on this.

Wendy Sellers

Grand Rapids

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