To the Editor:
This is a letter that was sent to Mayor Cathy Clark,who read it before the whole council:
Dear Mayor Cathy Clark,
Previously, we came before the City Council with a goal to make sure Keizer is a safe, welcoming, and inclusive city and for the Council to consider creating an Inclusivity Resolution for Keizer. We expressed concerns and you asked that we think of some actions that could be taken. Thank you for your considerations, listening so far, and for your support and suggestion in including us in these discussions and actions.
At this time, we feel that having an Inclusivity Resolution is a foundational action we need to take in order to ensure our goal. We could help create a group or task force, so that we can work together with you and the city council to create a Resolution and future actions that embody inclusivity.
The work group or task force would ideally include city council and community members. It would be a diverse membership that reflects Keizer’s population, and include representatives from community groups like Mano a Mano, NAACP, Causa; the LGBTQI+ community; education and religious leaders; and members from the Keizer Police and Fire District. We’d collaborate to form a resolution and ongoing future actions related to our goal.
We feel that an Inclusivity Resolution is essential for Keizer for the following reasons:
To show Keizer’s values of inclusion, equality, and respect for all residents that call our city home, and that Keizer embraces, celebrates, and welcomes all residents of any national origin, race, ethnicity, language, gender identity, sexual preference, marital status, disability, income, citizenship status, or religion, and their contributions to the collective prosperity of all residents.
To show Keizer resolves to fight racism, religious discrimination, sexism, homophobia, and violence or bullying in our schools and neighborhoods.
It is an uncertain time for many immigrant families, and the treatment of newcomers has had ripple effects throughout the immigrant community. Many have been afraid of going to the court house, taking their children to school, and going to local government buildings for fear of running into Immigration Customs Enforcement. To ensure the safety of everyone, we want immigrants to be able to call the police for help without worrying that their families will be broken up or that reporting a small crime will result in a disproportionate punishment. Effective policing requires trust between law enforcement and community members.
To understand that chronic discrimination leads to community disengagement, diminished opportunities for integration, increased stigmatization, and it negatively impacts local economic activity.
Many cities in Oregon are working to get resolutions in place or already have one. Passing an Inclusivity Resolution strengthens the state law by showing that other cities or counties support it.
We must unite against any attempts to separate and treat any members of our Keizer communities as less than any other member. No matter where we come from, we are all Oregonians and we want all to be safe and welcome in Keizer.
We who are listed below, urge the city council to create a work group or task force to work together with us to create an Inclusivity Resolution for the City of Keizer that embraces, celebrates, and welcomes all its residents and their contributions.
Sincerely a group of concerned friends of Keizer,
Levi Herrera-Lopez, Mano a Mano Representative