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On June 16, during a public Zoom meeting, the Ypsilanti City Council was discussing whether to reappoint Ka’Ron Gaines to the Human Relations Commission. When the discussion reached Ypsilanti Mayor Beth Bashert, she said, “Since I will be crucified if I vote against any black person on a commission, I’m going to vote yes.”
Other council members immediately criticized the comment, with some asking for an apology and council member Annie Somerville voicing concerns via social media. Bashert was the only leader to vote in favor of Gaines remaining on the Commission. Then, on Saturday, June 20, council member Somerville and Mayor Pro Tem Nicole Brown called for Bashert to resign at a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Ypsilanti. Somerville stated that they would not participate in another meeting until Bashert tenders her resignation.
“So, if we’re talking about allyship and how we move forward, then the request from me, from my fellow council member Annie Somerville and many people in the community already is that she resign,” Brown said. “The only way for her to learn and grow is not currently sitting in the seat that you should be representing us all from. You cannot represent us all and call yourself a racist on TV and in your responses in the news. So, I have no problem teaching a person things outside of that seat.”
Last week Bashert posted a lengthy message via Facebook admitting her actions were racist and committing to “do better.”
BTL reporters have reached out to Bashert and council members for direct comment. This is a developing story.