Racial Equity

I am truly happy to hear the growing attention that racial equity concerns receive in the media and the increasing number of people who are stepping forward to find ways to address disparity and institutionalized racism, and thereby improve our communities. I’m admittedly not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but throughout my 18 years on the City Council I have strived to represent my diverse Ward of residents in a fair and equitable manner. I have called it out when I’ve seen disparity, and worked to change things. I’ve, also, had to overcome my rage when we failed to make progress so that I could pick myself up and try again.

I won’t go into detail about what I have done or tried to do, or share my failures during my time on the Council. Over the last two decades I have seen things improve, not on their own, but through the work of city residents, the council and city staff. We have made the most progress when we have all worked together.

We now have more under-represented populations on City committees and on the City Council. Our police department fits the progressive nature of the city better than ever before. The council and the city staff are far more aware of and focused on improving racial equity and address institutional racism. We have made progress, but we are far from done.

We have NOT reached equity. If we had, we wouldn’t still be talking about it. Still, I think it’s important to know that we’ve made progress and we are focused on doing better. We recognize the need for more data and the value of hearing from experts who can help us as we work to improve the way we engage the community and plan our projects. This is an evolving process in an ever changing world.

I fully support continued attention to improving the Takoma Junction development project, however, I do not support starting over.  I do support forming a group to ensure our future decisions minimize threats to racial equity and help us address institutionalized racism. Such a group could also assist us as we act on the many other projects the city will face in the coming years.

I am so happy to see new faces of people interested in finding equity solutions in Takoma Park. I’m sure that some of the people may see me as part of the problem. I’m hopeful that, if they do, they also recognize that I can be part of the solution as we strive to improve the city together.

 

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