City Creates Commission on Communities of Color

by Felicity Bosk

City councilors listening to speakers – Photo by Elizabeth McMahon
City councilors listening to speakers – Photo by Elizabeth McMahon
Kym Young – Photo by Elizabeth McMahon
Kym Young – Photo by Elizabeth McMahon
Stephan Witherspoon – Photo by Elizabeth McMahon
Stephan Witherspoon – Photo by Elizabeth McMahon

A Commission on Communities of Color was established Tuesday after unanimous approval by Superior city councilors. 
Mayor Jim Paine first announced he would ask the council to approve the commission on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in a post on Facebook. He said their role will be to “recommend real policy change to myself, the Council, and future elected officials in order to correct inequalities and create opportunities for people of color.” 

Stephan Witherspoon was among the commission appointees who spoke to the council before they voted to create it. 
“It seems weird to me for some reason because it’s long overdue,” he said. “We have a big community here in Superior. We have different cultures that live here, but we are one community. We are one community.” 
He said that creating this commission is “the right thing to do, and that’s why it’s overdue.” 
Kym Young, another commission appointee took to the podium and echoed Witherspoon’s words that this was overdue. She said that a lot of people of African heritage have moved to Superior and also have been leaving. One of the reasons for that she said is because they haven’t felt at home in this community. 

“Our children did not feel at home here—we are talking about our children who were born into this community. There was no sense of culture, there was no sense of place, there was no sense of purpose. We are dealing with every day overt and covert racism.” 
She went on to say she saw potential in Superior for growth and development to become a global leader in diversity and inclusion and diversity. She asked the council to count on one hand how many black people work for the city, and reminded them that Superior recently hired their first black police officer. Young finished her statement by saying she was honored and proud to serve on this commission. 

Other appointees to the Commission on Communities of Color are Jerel Benton, Ephraim Nikoi and Natasha Lancour.