GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss delivered her State of the City address Tuesday afternoon, with the COVID-19 pandemic taking center stage.
Bliss brought attention to the lives lost to the virus, along with other issues: structural racism, gun violence, suicide, drug overdoses, homelessness, hunger and more.
Kent County Chair Mandy Bolder provided opening comments. City Manager Mark Washington delivered closing comments.
Watch the address:
"By focusing on opportunities rather than the obstacles, we can and we will come through this stronger," Bliss said. "In this moment, our immediate priority is to get all Grand Rapidians vaccinated."
The rising cost of housing was also discussed, including how the shortage of affordable, safe places to live disproportionately impacts people of color.
The city is planning to add millions of dollars to its housing fund in order to invest in low-income and affordable housing efforts.
Grand Rapids police are working on shifting to a neighborhood-based policy model focused on building trust and genuine relationships with the community.
"As our community experienced a dramatic increase in gun violence last year, it is critical that we continue to address the root causes of violence," Bliss said.