2023-08-03T11:24:40-04:00April 27th, 2022|

Presentation on April 19, 2022 @ Ottawa County Patriots
Sylvia Rhodea
Candidate for Ottawa County Commissioner
District 8
Co-founder, Ottawa Impact

Our community of parents and grandparents have put in the hard work of advocating to restore parental rights and Constitutional freedoms to our children and County over the past 2 years. I have been honored to stand with you as we have given the Ottawa County Commissioners and Health Department every opportunity to make informed Constitutional decisions on behalf of our children and businesses, even laying out a roadmap for them to do so with the Resolution to Restore Freedom. We are a county blessed with people of courage and conviction.

With such strong advocacy and community outcry, we have been surprised and disappointed by the lack of defense and leadership from our Commissioners. But should we have been surprised? Are there other indications our leaders lack discernment or are out of alignment with our core beliefs? These are really important conversations to have.

As a county commissioner, I will work hard to protect the things we hold dear.

I love America, and am deeply committed to defending her. On the ballot this election, we will decide whether we are going to save America, and that starts local.

I believe in the goodness of America and the goodness of our people. America is the land of systemic opportunity, built on the Constitution, Christianity, and Capitalism— the opportunity that jobs provide for social uplift. We need to return our nation to our roots which made America exceptional, rather than apologize for them. The woke left wants us to hate America and to doubt the goodness of our people.

I loved working with families of diverse backgrounds in foster care and adoption—especially doing home studies, and learning the rich histories and faith of amazing people stepping in to take care of children in need.

I admire Conservative minority thought leaders and look to them for guidance. Individuals like Candace Owens, Voddie Bauchman, Bob Woodson of 1776 Unites, 91-year-old Thomas Sowell whose work on economics and social policy is so brilliant and relevant, TW Shannon running for Senate in Oklahoma, and I could go on.

Ironically, the left, and too often the right, ignore these voices, as they do not fit the left’s narrative on race.

America does not have a racial divide. We have an ideological divide.

Ottawa County has been strategically targeted by the progressive left on racial and cultural issues for at least a decade, but most of us didn’t know it.

Our Ottawa County Commissioners, with the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance, joined efforts as an early core member with the far-left organizations of Race Forward, UC Berkeley’s Othering and Belonging Institute, and the Government Alliance on Race and Equity, called GARE, as early as 2014.  In early 2019, the Commissioners established a County DEI Department on the recommendation of these organizations, as well as at the request of a few large local corporations.

Race Forward and the Othering and Belonging Institute are parent organizations of GARE. They are directly aligned with:

  • progressive cities like Portland, Seattle, and Minneapolis.
  • the Democratic Party, Planned Parenthood, and LGBTQ activism.
  • Race Forward even funded Black Lives Matter in its early years, around the same years Ottawa County first aligned with these groups.
  • Whitmer’s MDHHS and Attorney General Dana Nessel’s Michigan Department of Civil Rights are also members of GARE

In 2015, Ottawa County was one of two pilot locations in the U.S. to participate in the Transforming White Privilege Project, with staff from the county Administrator’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Human Resources Office participating.

More recently, Race Forward worked with the Biden Administration on implementing a racial equity executive order on Biden’s first day in office, which is now being implemented across federal agencies. Based on its work with GARE, which has now spread across the US, Race Forward is now speaking into the implementation of similar work in Biden’s federal government.

In March, Race Forward launched a campaign to specifically combat parents defending children against CRT indoctrination and sexualization in schools, identifying Michigan and other swing states as early states to target. (The NEA, leaders of the Women’s March, and numerous other incredibly well-funded progressive organizations are also involved.)

The woke ideology of these organizations;

  • Divide us by race as oppressed or oppressors based on skin color.
  • Assert America is built on structural racism rather than structural opportunity.
  • Assert generational poverty needs to be fixed with the socialist value of equity, rather than the American value of hard work.
  • Indoctrinate our kids to hate our country and hate their parents who don’t espouse “wokeism”.

Locally, Ottawa County asserts minority citizens don’t feel welcome as Ottawa is largely white and Conservative.

While stating it is merely looking to root out elusive implicit bias from county policies, our DEI office is promoting woke ideology and membership with progressive GARE through our county bureaucracy.

The Commissioners continue to voice their support for the work of the DEI office, which promotes GARE membership and teachings to our townships and cities, as well as across the state through the MAC Conference, of which Commissioner Phil Kuyers serves as President.

The establishment of the DEI office in Conservative Ottawa County has allowed a foothold of validity to these beliefs, and we are seeing it spread to our OAISD and local school districts.

The phenomenon of the progressive left taking over such a Conservative County is certainly curious, and is earning the praise of local Democratic activists and progressive nonprofits.

Ottawa County is historically a Conservative stronghold, and pivotal to Michigan elections. Michigan is pivotal to national elections. The organizations that have infiltrated Ottawa County openly discuss the importance of race politics to Democratic election efforts. The Democrat Socialist Party is living rent free in Ottawa County, at the taxpayer expense of $200K a year.

Because we love the people and the children of our county, we want America to flourish, to be exceptional, to not sow division— but rather to love our people and see them flourish, we need to evaluate the discernment of our current leaders.

We need leaders who will protect our children, our communities, and America, from divisive, woke ideology which tears down America and leads us down the road towards socialism, and leaders who will protect us from the overreach of government which violates Constitutional freedoms.

If elected, I promise to promote the exercise of courage and discernment in leadership of county government.

We can defend Ottawa County. It’s not too late. And we can Make America Great Again.


Race Forward speaking with the White House on GARE and race equity in the federal government