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Special proclamation and statement on the City's commitment to equity, inclusion and justice

Released on Thursday, June 4, 2020
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On Thursday, June 4, Mayor Wade Troxell issued a special proclamation in response to the death of George Floyd; reaffirming the City's commitment to equity, inclusion and justice; and asking the Fort Collins community to work together to improve racial justice in Fort Collins.

In addition, City Manager Darin Atteberry issued a statement about our shared responsibility to dismantle systemic racism, and inviting the community to work together to listen to and learn from those most impacted by racial inequities and create change.

The full text of both are included below.

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Special Proclamation - June 4, 2020

Video: Mayor Troxell issues special proclamation

WHEREAS, a safe community requires open communication, diverse perspectives, and a foundation built on trust; and

WHEREAS, the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery are part of a long history of violence perpetrated against black individuals in this country, including by law enforcement officials who dishonored their oath to protect all people; and

WHEREAS, we recognize the role local government has played in contributing to systemic racism and the responsibility of local government to partner with others to dismantle it; and

WHEREAS, thousands of people locally and nationally are protesting the patterns of systemic and institutional racism that are all too often a matter of life and death for black and indigenous people and other people of color; and

WHEREAS, that national attention is focusing on this issue against the backdrop of a global pandemic that is disproportionately affecting people of color, especially black lives, in terms of infection rates, fatalities, unemployment, housing stability, and more; and

WHEREAS, the United States Constitution ensures the right of peaceful assembly, and forms of protest have served as powerful calls to action and have effected meaningful change throughout our nation’s history; and

WHEREAS, the City of Fort Collins and Fort Collins Police Services share the desire for an end to police brutality, to foster a police culture invested in trust and accountability, and to create an equitable, inclusive community where people of color feel safe; and

WHEREAS, everyone who lives in Fort Collins deserves a police department that is caring, professional and that listens and responds to the needs of its community; and

WHEREAS, every community member has the opportunity and responsibility to listen to, learn from, and act in support of those in our community who are most impacted by racial inequities.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Wade Troxell, Mayor of the City of Fort Collins, do hereby proclaim the City’s commitment to institutionalizing equity, inclusion and justice in the City of Fort Collins and encourage our community to work with us and each other to improve racial equity in Fort Collins.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and the seal of the City of Fort Collins this 4th day of June, A.D. 2020.

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We share a responsibility to dismantle systemic racism

by Darin Atteberry

Published June 5, 2020 in the Fort Collins Coloradoan

My column today was going to be about the City’s plans for facility reopenings after three months of closures due to COVID-19. While that information is important, it is not the most important thing for us to talk about right now.

It has been an incredibly challenging couple of weeks for our nation. We are grieving the murder of George Floyd by a white police officer, and watching thousands protest the patterns of systemic and institutional racism that are all too often a matter of life and death for people of color.

I appreciate and echo the thoughtful words Chief Swoboda has shared recently. Part of the City’s responsibility is providing a safe community through our police department. To do so effectively and equitably requires a police culture invested in building trust, accountability and continuous improvement to ensure everyone in our community feels valued, safe, served and protected.

But creating a safe and equitable community is not just about policing. We each have the opportunity and obligation to face the pain experienced by our black community members and work for change, and I am committed to listening and learning from those who are most impacted by these inequities.

I know that simply saying these things is not enough. We are also exploring these questions within the City organization and I am challenging my colleagues to ask hard questions about their own privilege, biases, and how we can all better serve residents of color.

In recent years, the City has deliberately worked to better understand race in Fort Collins and how City policies and procedures may impact people of different races in different ways. This is a high priority for our Mayor and City Council, and they are deeply committed to learning and leading on this issue, as emphasized in the proclamation they issued this week.

The City is preparing to launch an equity indicator project to provide meaningful data about inequality gaps in Fort Collins and illuminate where interventions are needed. We are also developing Principles of Community to help align our efforts to ensure equitable service provision while increasing our capacity for more equitable engagement.

Of course, we also remain in the midst of a global pandemic that is disproportionally impacting people of color in everything from infection rates to unemployment and more.

So how do we do this? How do we respond to a pandemic that none of us has ever experienced? How do we respond to an epidemic of systemic racism that we all have, consciously or not, been impacted by our whole lives?

The City does not and will not have all the answers. I am thankful to the community members who challenge us to do better, and to our nonprofit, business, education and faith partners who are helping lead the conversation. No one can do this alone.

This is an important moment in our history. We have an opportunity—as individuals and as a community—to decide who we want to be and how we want to show up for one another. Please commit with me to move our community forward.

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