Diversity alliance responds to chair incident

To the Editor: The Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance is disappointed by the recent placement of a chair with racist remarks written on it in the Davids' Grand Haven Township driveway.
Nov 8, 2012


veway. The Diversity Alliance strongly opposes racial intimidation in all its varied forms.

The chair with racist graffiti, found in the David driveway the day after the election, appears to be a response to Mr. David’s display of chairs hung by ropes from trees in the Davids' yard. The display was erected following Clint Eastwood’s speech at the Republican National Convention in late August, in which Eastwood spoke to an empty chair representing President Obama. Mr. David’s hanging chairs are still on display.

On Oct. 4, the Diversity Alliance held a public community forum in response to concerns raised about the hanging chairs specifically to provide a safe, open space for all people to engage in civil dialogue. People who were in support and those in opposition to the hanging chairs were afforded the opportunity to speak and share their views. Community members of various ideological positions spoke at the forum. 

At the closing of the forum, a group of attendees stayed to discuss ways to foster inclusion in the Tri-Cities communities. Work on that front continues.

The Grand Haven Tribune has reported on several occasions that Mr. David indicated he was not approached by the Diversity Alliance nor invited to the public forum. On Sept. 26, one week prior to the community conversation, the executive director of the Diversity Alliance went to Mr. David’s home and discussed with him the concerns that community members had brought to the Diversity Alliance. A request was made of Mr. David, in the spirit of humanitarianism and respect for the people whom the display negatively impacted, to consider removing the chairs from the ropes. 

Discussions for a political statement that was free of racial implications included the suggestion to place the chairs on the ground next to the political signs. This action would have served to alleviate the controversy of the hanging chairs’ relationship to the historical context of lynching of black people in this country. Mr. David declined to change the display.

The community forum was a public event, for which an invitation was extended to the entire Tri-Cities region. Targeted invitations to specific individuals were not made, nor seen as necessary. The Grand Haven Tribune reported that Mr. David stated he had a conflict which prohibited him from attending the community forum.

In a Nov. 8, article, the Grand Haven Tribune stated that the Diversity Alliance did not immediately respond to calls for comment. The Diversity Alliance was not contacted until after 3 p.m. on the date referenced, and all staff members were out of the office facilitating workshops and/or attending a conference in Grand Rapids. The implication that the Diversity Alliance selected not to respond is inaccurate.

In the same article, the Tribune reported: “Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance hosted a meeting in Grand Haven on Oct. 4, saying the hanging chairs represented racist threats against the African-American president and should be removed.” At no time did the Diversity Alliance make this statement. The Diversity Alliance was and remains to be concerned with the impact of the hanging chairs on the Tri-Cities community, regardless of intent.

The Diversity Alliance clearly does not know Mr. David’s intent in hanging the chairs from ropes in a tree. We do understand the impact that this visual display has had on many members of the community. 

The goal of the Diversity Alliance has always been to help promote and facilitate efforts to foster a community where all people feel included and welcomed. In asking Mr. David to remove the chairs from the tree, we were hopeful that he would consider the impact of his display on members of the community, and join us in fostering that inclusive and welcoming environment. We continue to ask for that consideration.
Gail Harrison
Executive Director
Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance

To read the story on the chair retaliation, click here.



I'm impressed by the strong and impassioned statement of the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance specific to the racist and profane comments placed on Mr. David's property: Disappointment. Quite a vanilla response compared to the original chair incident, which was at best ambiguous and contested by the man who knows why he made the display. LEDA does take 11 paragraphs detailing the old incident, and defending themselves in the process. One would think Zeus had has way with Leda instead of someone having their way with Mr. David. . . .


I am not one to use eloquent flowery politically correct speech, but would rather use concrete, to the point, blatant words and terms in expressing what I feel. In regard to Ken David hanging “Red Lawn Chairs” in the trees in his front yard from ropes, claiming he is expressing his freedom of speech rights and denies that there is anything racist about the display and states, “It’s a decoration.” Oh yeah, sure, I mean in my front yard I place displays of expression all the time like, the Black Crow models that I hang by their necks, you know, just to show my affection for those beautiful Black retards. And then, there’s the thorny Black Berry stems that I hang celebrating the summer Black Berry season, and least not forget the word Swastika, is of Sanskrit origin and the symbol is one of good luck, got that one hanging all the time. So ya see, the hanging of red lawn chairs from a rope in your front yard days after the Republican National Convention where Clint Eastwood brought an empty chair on stage and talked to it as if it were President Obama, just a coincidence, just a coincidence.

Tri-cities realist

The chair was red not black... And really, retards? Ugh


despite the color of chairs your choice of words is more colorful realist.

Tri-cities realist

If you are referring to the use of the word "retard" as more colorful, I was referring to mr. Williams use of the word. I wondered if people would understand my comment. I apologize for the ambiguity. My comment was intended to bemoan ("ugh") mr. Williams for his use of the word "retard".


If inclusion means turning Grand Haven into Muskegon Heights or Holland the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance came take their diversity and plant it!!!!!!


Now there folks is a heartfelt and no doubt sincere response to the topic! LOL!


Horst------ You are a racist


So that's that folks. We finally get the LEDA's statement. We should all feel so much better now that we know they strongly oppose trespassing and direct evidence of racial slander. Oh wait, they didn't say that but did a through job on cya! You do not heal racism by brushing past it when it is targeted against a white person. Until I hear any statements that lead me to believe they see the different shades of racism, I will remain skeptical.


WOW!!!!!! Really???? You people dont have anything better to do than complain about this????? God...concentrate on your kids, your job and your spouse......to argue over this makes you look like you are still in junior high........GGEESSHH


What makes you think people aren't concentrating on those things already ? It's not possible to care for one's family while pointing out the selective outrage of liberal advocacy groups such as the Diversity (in all things except thought) Alliance?


Karingh, A current politician said, (I'll let you or others figure out who) "It takes a villiage..." Well in order to do that we must engage others and sometimes debate issues. I for one am very focused on my family and career. I can walk and chew gum at the same time. This notion that debate is not good or bad is another step down that slippery slope that many of us here worry about. If you cannot have a voice or share it, what do you have? America was built on that bedrock of freedom.


Thank you, LEDA, for your response. I appreciate the work you do in West Michigan. As you can see from my neighbors' sentiments, we need you here in our community. They leave me disappointed in 2012.


Just thought I would check back and read about the continued outrage over the racist attack on the David's after the election...huh no one here...racism healed. Wonderful!


Geez Louise man, can you please give it a rest for a day or two? Do you think possibly that the reason no one else is posting to this thread is because you and your little fan club have expressed enough righteous indignation for the entire community? First you diss this "rights" group because they don't respond quick enough to your outrage, not knowing of course any of the details behind their response or lack thereof and then when they do respond you diss 'em again because their response wasn't full of the mea culpas that your indignation required. It's only been a little over 48 hours since the racist chair was discovered, how about giving law enforcement a couple more days to dig into this and see what they can come up with.....I assume they're looking into who the chair nailer(s) is/are...I dont know that they are for sure though.....maybe the tribune could give us an update before rioting breaks out.

Tri-cities realist

"before rioting breaks out" lol. Good one


whooops, double posted somehow. Maybe the Tribune folks are out to get me! Arrrgg!


Yeah, thanks. For the record that was sarcasm, I don't know what the emoticon is for sarcasm.


Again, I'm pointing out the inconsistency to the racism in the community. After the first articles on this subject the left "nearly exploded into riots" (wow) over the percieved racism. Sorry to knock your high horse over but the verdict was in immediately when this thing hit the paper. Then our little community paper finishes it off and calls him a racist (racist retaliate) in a follow up to keep feeding the fire. So no, I won't back down in face of these inconsistencies, why don't you. Ya, I know I'm an ornery cuss to deal with huh! Kinda what makes me do endearing don't ya think:-)


Uh no, endearing is not the first word that comes to mind. Heck, I can't even figure out what these inconsistencies are that you won't back down from......or why some old white guy is so cranked about double standards regarding racism. I'm just flat out baffled why this is such a major deal for you. Do you feel discriminated against because you think black people are out to get you, or is it that they don't show you enough respect? Do you get called a cracker or honky frequently? Do you want them to be as afraid to come into your neighborhood as you are to cruise thru theirs? I just don't get it. I grew up in a large city and back in those days there were some real problems with racism. I remember people getting shot, houses burning, serious stuff. What's happening is this town is nothing compared to those days. It's almost like you're making a joke out of racism with your double standard drivel. Call me stupid I guess, but I just don't get where you're coming from....and it's got nothing to do with being an "ornery cuss". I need some tylenol, all of a sudden I have a headache.


Anyday I can give a Lib a headache is a good day. I'll break it down slow so you can follow: Assuming hanging chairs (empty chair) Obama = racism....white chair (Mr. David), written racist statements, nailed to driveway = unfortunate retaliation on a racist! Get it, inconsistent if both are examples of racism why not the same outrage? The old white people stuff is what I have been observing in the liberal media since the election and pointing out as another talking point buzz word from the left. You my friend as an old white guy (deducted from your statements of racial tension late 60's) should pay attention as to how this continued class, age and gender warfare from the left divides us. You see I'm not the old white guy from the days of Aquarius, I followed soon after and have been watching as the bulk of you take the country over the cliff. Maybe you didn't catch all that anti culture stuff you were following during that time. Aside from the music, that time in our history has left a profound scar on this country with the exception of a few good moments and people! The age group from that time are now the politicians of this time (Obama a studied disciple of that philosophy.) Fine job they are doing with all the division in this country right now. Peace out, try some meditation to relief your headache.


Nearly a week now since "The Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance is disappointed by the recent placement of a chair with racist remarks written on it in the Davids' Grand Haven Township driveway. The Diversity Alliance strongly opposes racial intimidation in all its varied forms." Did I miss the community meeting regarding this incident of racial intimidation? Apparently this form of intimidation does not warrant community meetings to make us feel diverse and racial sensitive!


NOT a Racist a REALIST and I "really" don't want that element living around me. I enjoy not having to lock my house and night and being able to leave the keys in my car. Couldn't leave a roll of carpet in a house I was working on in Musk Hts over the weekend without the across the street neighbor stealing it.
Playing the race card is your excuse and answer to everything, just like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Get off your finger pointing soapbox and become part of the solution and not part of the problem. Go into the Hts. or Holland and help fix the problem so people like me don't feel this way. All the shootings and robbery's in Musk. and Holland and you think I'm the problem??? REALLY!!!!!!!


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