I am heartbroken that George Floyd and too many others have senselessly lost their lives. Black Lives Matter. I strive for Port Orchard to be a community where all are welcome and safe. Right now, across the country, black Americans are crying out for love and support.
I support the rally against racism, and the many in our community who gather to peacefully express their discontent and anger. We as leaders, cannot and should not ignore the cries to do what we can to fight against the injustice that exists.
I echo the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “the time is always right to do what is right.”
As Mayor, my job is to appoint a police chief that shares the values of our community and leads his team consistent with those values. I have the utmost confidence in Chief Brown and his ability to lead. But I would not be doing my job as a leader if I did not regularly evaluate our police department and its practices with a critical eye, particularly now in the face of calls for reform.
I am committed to enhancing our efforts to monitor and root out any inappropriate police response or use of force. I support the governor’s efforts to convene a task force to evaluate policing practices in our state and to develop meaningful legislation for police reform where needed. The city’s commissioned officers are trained by state-directed experts and the Governor’s commitment to changes in the training of our new officers is imperative. I also commit to hold our police officers accountable to our community and to ensure all voices are heard in this process.
When it comes to ensuring Port Orchard is a safe and respectful community, we all must participate. I encourage all to speak, and I commit to listening and engaging in a long-overdue dialog. I encourage the citizens of Port Orchard to use their most powerful tool and vote in the upcoming August primary and in the fall election.
I recently came across a statement from American author Doug Williford that I felt offered me clarity:
If my wife comes to me in obvious pain and asks the question, “Do you love me?”, an answer of “I love everyone,” would be truthful, but also hurtful and cruel in the moment. If a co-worker comes to me upset and says, “My father just died,” a response of “Everyone’s parents die,” would be truthful, but also hurtful and cruel in the moment. So when a friend speaks up in a time of obvious pain and hurt and says, “Black lives matter,” a response of “All lives matter,” is truthful. But it’s hurtful and cruel in the moment.
In this moment I seek to offer comfort to those in pain and make a commitment to do better.