Burlington mayor speaks out in support of anti-racism protests; recommends resources to help curb ignorance
Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward issued a statement Tuesday (June 2) regarding the growing movement to end systemic racism and police brutality in the United States and across the world.
“The death of George Floyd on May 25 while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota ignited a fire to put a stop to injustices that are faced by the Black community every day,” said the mayor.
Meed Ward was born in the United States and says she has family in the Minneapolis area.
“I lived and studied for a year in Minneapolis and still have friends there who have shared their stories of experience with systemic racism,” continued Meed Ward.
“We have spoken over the past week and my heart is breaking for the families who have lost loved ones, and for the many good people who are tired of living in fear and oppression.”
Meed Ward added that racism isn’t limited to the Minneapolis or United States. She said Burlington residents, too, feel the effects of racism.
“In my time as Mayor, I have unfortunately received countless messages of hate directed at many different groups in our city, especially on social media,” said Meed Ward.
“We have seen hate crimes occur, with messages of intolerance posted by vandals right on the doors of city hall. I even received an email from a visitor to our city who felt racially profiled as they visited a local business.”
Meed Ward didn’t mention the councillors name but called on all residents to confront the racism that exists in the community.
“Not just the overt racism like messages of hate, but the subtle and systemic racism that affects the little things we say and do, the privilege we benefit from, what we teach our children, and the assumptions we make about others.”
This is a time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we are doing enough to ensure that every person is being treated with the same humanity, respect, and compassion as we all deserve. It's a time to learn, a time to listen and a time to act.
“I will be exploring some recommended books and digital resources as I seek to confront my own privilege and support the work being done to end these injustices and create a truly equitable world,” concluded Meed Ward before recommended the following literature for people of all ages:
- White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
- Beloved by Toni Morrison
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- The Conscious Kid on Instagram
- The Black Lives Matter Foundation website
- A Kids Book about Racism by Jelani Memory
- This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell
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