By Mike Kruzman /

Satisfied that critical race theory is not included within their training programs, the Livingston County Board of Commissioners has approved the Area Agency on Aging’s annual plan.

AAA1-B’s FY2022 Implementation Plan sparked more discussion about CRT and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) during the County Finance Committee meeting, Wednesday. Board Chair Wes Nakagiri is the board’s newly appointed representative to the AAA1-B board. He said when reviewing the plan at the AAA1-B’s June 25th meeting, he was concerned because there was language about DEI training within it.

Noting that there are differences between the two terms and that not all diversity training is racist or bad, Nakagiri asked leadership twice if their DEI training included elements of CRT, and was told it did not. He gave an example from a training program AAA1-B recently went through last November. Nakagiri said that while he was provided flyers from it, they weren’t as detailed as he would like. The training, however, included discussion on “implicit bias”, but how everybody has biases, not just only people of a lighter skin color. Nakagiri said he felt like this was a fair statement, and not a racially divisive term when looking at it through the totality of the population.

Nakagiri he would prefer that AAA1-B focus on “need” and not needs of specific groups or individuals of races or sexual orientation, but thathe wasn’t going to vote against their budget for that specific reason.

Commissioner Jay Drick asked AAA1-B Director of Research, Policy and Advocacy Jim McGuire more about the training and if they could get copies of any of the materials used. McGuire added that DEI training is a state requirement for the agency, and that when they first submitted their draft plan, it was returned for being in adequate in that area. AAA1-B cut and pasted the language from the requirement to meet the minimum mandate.

Commisioner Doug Helzerman said there has been a lot of discussion, lately, about DEI and CRT with the board and representatives from the Metroparks, Michigan Works, and now the AAA1-B. He said most of society doesn’t fully understand those terms, and urged his colleagues to be consistent with their treatment of the subjects and to consider the substances of the policies, not the mere words.