GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — An extensive analysis from the Human Rights Campaign shows Grand Rapids has taken another step in its journey to become a more equitable and welcoming city.
According to the HRC’s Municipal Equality Index scorecard, Grand Rapids scored 94 out of 100 — two points up from its score in 2021 and up from a 68 in 2014.
The MEI score is based off of 49 different criteria, including nondiscrimination laws and programs for LGBTQ employees and residents.
Stacy Stout, the director of the Office of Equity and Engagement, said the scores shows how much progress the city of Grand Rapids has made in recent years but also that there’s more work that can be done.
“We have an amazing staff that works diligently to foster equity and inclusion in policy and belonging in the workplace,” Stout said in a news release. “In addition to striving to achieve a high score, our goal is to continuously expand and reinforce the real impacts behind the score.”
The city has made several changes in recent years, including establishing a staff liaison between the Grand Rapids Police Department and Prism GR — the city’s employee resource group for LGBTQ employees. Prism GR has also helped expand the city’s presence at community events and put together a local shopping guide specifically to support LGBTQ-owned businesses.
According to the MEI scorecard, Grand Rapids lost the most points because it does not provide transgender-inclusive health care benefits.
“While this year’s score does show steps toward a more equitable city, there is still work to be done,” GR Prism chair Regina Pell said in a release. “This score is just one of many important measures of progress in making Grand Rapids a safe and supportive community for all the people who live and work here.”
Nationwide, 505 municipalities were graded, including 11 in Michigan. Ann Arbor, Detroit and Ferndale came in with perfect scores. Kalamazoo earned a 74, losing points for not having an LGBTQ liaison in the city executive’s office or with the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety. The city with the lowest score was Warren with a 44.