I learned a lot in June.
I learned from Abdi Mohamoud, Matt Brown and Sarah Gentry – the organizers of the Student March for Black Lives. They spoke passionately about the presence of hate speech in our community, and how we must end racism together – in the streets, in classrooms and at the family dinner table.
I learned from hosting virtual listening sessions. Chief McAlpine and I heard from hundreds of community members. We heard appreciation for the men and women of the Police Department, but also a need to look inward at systemic racism in the Police Department and our city government. We agree with you, and we have already begun this critical work.
I learned from your emails, phone calls, and letters. You rightfully have questions about body cameras, officer training, the Police Department budget, #8CantWait and use of force policies. We are, and will continue to be, transparent in responding to your questions. You can find answers to community questions on this webpage: www.tigard-or.gov/community_for_all.
I learned from my fellow councilors. During each Council meeting in June, we discussed racism in Tigard, and how we can do better. The Council will continue to listen and learn but, more importantly, we will act. As we navigate these difficult topics and discussions, we know that we must act to transform our city to end systemic racism.
I learned from those who insist that the status quo should be our future. In Tigard, we celebrate our differences, experiences and perspectives. We know that dismantling systemic racism will not be easy and may not be embraced by every member of our community. But let me be clear: we WILL move forward. We will move forward, with all perspectives in mind, to eliminate institutional racism and ensure equity within our community.
I have a lot more to learn. This learning goes beyond the walls of City Hall. I will work side-by-side with community members to engage all voices, problem-solve creatively and build trust. As we do this, it is imperative that we hear from members of our community who have been most affected by inequities.
As a city, we have a lot to learn. We will be neither complicit nor silent in the City of Tigard. Rather, we will be vigilant and deliberate as we seek to ensure that no member of our community experiences discrimination or injustice in any form.
I would be grateful to hear your thoughts, ideas and concerns. You can share your ideas via email ([email protected]) or, phone or text (503-810-0269).