Select Board - Jun 8th, 2020
Meeting held via teleconference. I've taken notes for some (but not all) of the agenda items.
Lenard Diggins joins the board as a newly-elected member. The board nominates John Hurd as Chair, and Joe Curro as Vice Chair.
Placement of Black Lives Matter Banner on Town Hall. Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine would like to talk about the Black Lives Matter Banner, the proclamation from the Human Rights Commission, efforts under way, and efforts yet to come. Arlington has a long history of inclusivity. Before the pandemic, we began a relationship with the National League of Cities and participated in their equity training programs. Select Board members have taken this training, along with over sixty town staff. The COVID pandemic disrupted training efforts. We'd like to build education and awareness, look for instances of institutional racism, and work to cure them.
During the Citizens Open Forum portion of the meeting, one resident asked about the eight can't wait campaign. Arlington Police were doing seven of the eight points even before the campaign began. The missing item is duty to intervene, and the Police Chief is working to implement this in the department.
The road ahead will likely be harder than the road already traveled. There's a broad cross-section of people who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work. The banner is a show of solidarity, and a commitment to doing the work.
John Hurd reads the proclamation. (See https://arlington.novusagenda.com/agendapublic/AttachmentViewer.ashx?AttachmentID=8849&ItemID=9111)
(Sharon Grossman, Human Rights Commission) Ms. Grossman says that efforts of the last week have accelerated the work we have to do.
(Kristin Bauer, Human Rights Commission) Ms. Bauer echos Ms. Grossman's sentiments. She appreciates that the board took up the proclamation under such short notice. This is an important path to take, and the proclamation is a recognition of that.
Diane Mahon feels that a small minority were taking this issue, and creating a charged atmosphere. We started thinking about racial equity last year. Eight can't wait is geared towards cities and mayors. We felt it was a good idea, and committed to adopting the program on our own. We waited on the last step (duty to intervene) because the other seven were mostly in place, and we wanted to nail them down first. Going forward, we'll need guidance on where to go and we'll need to have uncomfortable conversations. White people do have privilege, based on the color of their skin. We need to check our privilege, listen, and resist the urge to clap back and retort.
Len Diggins says that "think globally, act locally" is one of his favorite phrases. Along these lines, there's also "think generally, act specifically". Sexism and low wage income are also issues. People need access to good education and a livable wage. Privilege is often based on income. It's in everyone's interest to grow the pie bigger.
Joe Curro speaks about his Sunday afternoon. He went to church, to meet his pastor and several parishioners for the solidarity funeral procession. There were around 1000 people there. Mr. Curro felt that everyone had a unified purpose. Attendees were asked to bring a sign with the name of a person of color who'd lost their life. Mr. Curro brought a sign with the name Trey Pringle.
Mr. Curro was born in South Carolina, about 2-1/2 years after the voting rights act pass. Trey Pringle was born in the same county, at around the same time. Trey had some mental challenges. One night, his mom called the sheriff to ask for assistance with her son. He was beaten, tazed, and died three days later. Mr. Curro says he received privilege growing up; Trey received a grave.
The high school graduation paraded interacted with the funeral procession and the difference was stark. We have to think about what systemic racism and privilege mean. Mr. Curro is glad to see our Police Chief embrace the principals of eight can't wait. We're not done with this conversation.
Steve DeCourcey agrees that we have a lot to do. Today's ceremony was a statement of solidarity rather than a pat on the back. 57 years ago, President Kennedy told the nation we needed civil rights reform. 57 years later, we still need it.
John Hurd was happy to participate in this morning's event. We supported raising the banner, and the police department supported it too. What happened in Minnesota was horrific. We have to continue to identify racism. We've made progress, but there's work to do, and we'll continue to engage residents to fight racism.
Len Diggins feels we'd have made more progress if we'd had different federal administrations at different times. That's because people like us don't always vote. Protesting is important, but voting is equally important.
Resolution adopted, 5--0.
Charlie Proctor Bike Memorial. (I missed the opening remarks. Charlie Proctor was a cyclist who was killed by a motor vehicle a few weeks ago, at the intersection of Mass Ave and Appleton Street. Mr. Proctor's family and Mass Bike would like to erect a memorial for him.)
Ms. Mahon is 100% behind the idea. Mr. DeCourcey is also in favor.
Mr. Curro offers condolences to the family, and supports the idea of a memorial. He hopes we can improve the intersection, so this doesn't happen to anyone else.
5--0 vote in support of a memorial.
Creation of Design Review Committee, Mass Ave at Appleton Street. The proposal is to create a design review committee, to recommend short- and long-term safety improvements to the intersection of Mass Ave and Appleton Street.
Mr. Chapdelaine says that ABAC has provided short-term recommendations, and are interested in pursuing long-term improvements. We're interested in setting up a design review committee to look at this intersection. If approved, we'll advertise residents, screen potential committee members, and get to work.
Mr. Diggins fully supports the effort. He's glad to see that the East Arlington Livable Streets Coalition has been involved.
Mr. Curro moves approval.
Mr. DeCourcey appreciates all of the public correspondence submitted for this proposal.
Ms. Mahon supports the idea of working on both short-term and long-term improvements.
Formation of committee approved, 5--0.