By Jon King /

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin secured funding that could be used to revive a report on systemic racism affecting Black Michigan residents, following conversations with Black leaders in the 8th district in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.

The Holly Democrat’s measure, included in the appropriations package that passed the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday, provided robust funding that Michigan State University could access to produce the “State of Black Michigan,” an annual report on systemic inequalities compiled from the 1960s through 2007. "On this the funeral day of the great John Lewis, I ask my colleagues to support my amendment to fund a critical source of knowledge for my state, the ‘State of Black Michigan’ report. This amendment comes directly from my meetings with African American leaders in my district in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. For four decades, researchers at Michigan State University compiled the ‘State of Black Michigan’ report. This critical research project was established in the wake of civil unrest in the 1960s and until 2007. It did what all good research does: it used hard data and facts regardless of politics, to inform and hold elected leaders accountable for the persistent inequality in housing, health care, education, economic opportunity and more.”

Slotkin said the work to produce the ‘State of Black Michigan’ was spearheaded by Dr. Joe Darden at MSU. Without dedicated funding since 2007, she said state officials have been without the knowledge the report provided, which was especially important, “as the country once again confronts systemic racism and inequality…”. Slotkin added that, “…we must acknowledge and learn from the underlying facts to build effective policies…so we can confront the systemic inequalities and actually do something about these systemic problems."

Meanwhile, Slotkin voted against another amendment from fellow Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York that would have prohibited the use of funds for military recruitment via the e-sports streaming platform Twitch and other e-sports activities. Lawmakers rejected that measure 292-126. Slotkin said while she recognized the need for organizations to take care when communicating to young people, she couldn’t support a bill that singles out the military and treats their outreach as suspect, adding that “Military service is a noble calling” and noted that her husband made a 30-year career as a chopper pilot in the U.S. Army while both her step-daughter and son-in-law are just beginning their military careers. “I was fortunate enough to serve alongside the military in Iraq and in DC for my entire career. We should encourage any young Americans with an interest to consider the military as a potential path to professional opportunity and leadership training. We as Americans should want a military as diverse as our society, and to support — and not question — those who choose service to our nation."

The six-bill spending package that includes defense funding now heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration.