In light of the recent national protests against racism and police violence, many people are calling for reimagining the role of policing in our communities. How do you envision applying this to Flagstaff especially in relation to our Native American residents and other people of color.
The City Council should have a formal discussion about these issues, which, even after daily protests since the end of May, Council has yet to do, and it is about to take a six-week vacation. Without leadership on Council willing to discuss the issue, or even return emails to heads of the black and Indigenous community, the City won’t make progress towards meaningful change. We need a Council willing to communicate with the public, and while in continued conversations, direct staff to draft alternative models of enforcement such as the Eugene, Oregon or Camden, NJ models and determine budgetary outlooks for different proposals. These alternative models could help inform conversations about what is best for Flagstaff, and navigate the situation to create meaningful policy changes that respond to the concerns being raised about the status quo.
There was calls for de-funding our local city police department. I was adamantly opposed to the requests. This coming year we are going to have a community conversation on policing and social provider services where the City is a partner. I’ve been calling for mutual understandings of our Indigenous communities and I’ve been a lone voice, for there hasn’t been serious dialogues other then photo ops.
We have the responsibility to bring all voices forward. We will do this through our priority base budgeting process. We have begun to implement the strategic plan given to us by our indigenous community through the Indigenous Circle of Flagstaff and it is time that our historic black community comes together to tell the lived black experience. Black Lives Matter, action items need to be defined, the cultural/racial concerns from our indigenous community, and the fair/equitable treatment of our Hispanic communities and businesses also need to be addressed. We become more resilient in our actions and stronger in our convictions.
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