Ypsilanti Mayor Beth Bashert resigned on Tuesday after receiving criticism for controversial remarks about a Black city official during a virtual council meeting.
During a Zoom meeting on June 16, Bashert said that she would be “crucified” for not voting to reappoint city human relations commissioner Ka’Ron Gaines.
“Since I will be crucified if I vote against any Black person on any commission, I’m going to vote yes,” Bashert said, according to The Detroit Free Press.
The rest of the panel voted no and councilwoman Nicole Brown pushed back on the then-mayor’s statements during the meeting, The Detroit Free Press reported.
“I think that is disrespectful, honestly, to our constituents and our community to say that you have to vote ‘yes’ because then, if not, you would be attacked because you didn’t appoint another Black person,” Brown said during the meeting.
Bashert apologized on Facebook the following day.
“Last night at City Council, I made a biased statement and voted based on that statement. Then I compounded the whole thing by digging in and getting defensive when questioned. All of those actions were racist. I am deeply ashamed and saddened that I did this. I have spent the time since that meeting feeling remorse, shame, and anger at myself,” she wrote in a post. “I understand that none of the terrible feelings I am having at this time come close to the painful experiences Black and Brown people suffer due to racism.”
After receiving continued criticism, Bashert resigned on Tuesday. Her resignation was effective as of 9 a.m., June 23.
“I am deeply sorry to have my service end on this note and in this way. Sadly, as a result of my actions, there is healing to do to ensure that all residents, including Black, Indigenous, and people of color, enjoy full equity in Ypsilanti,” Bashert said in a Facebook post announcing her resignation. “That is what I want for our City. I had hoped to participate in that healing process, going forward.”
City Clerk Andrew Hellenga confirmed the resignation, according to MLive. Mayor Pro Tem Lois Richardson will serve until the November general election.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected].
Photo “Beth Bashert” by Beth Bashert. Background Photo “Ypsilanti Downtown” by Dwight Burdette. CC BY 3.0.