The Diversity, Inclusion, Equity & Equal Employment Commission announced this week that its first open dialogue forum will be held on Wednesday, October 27, at 7:30 p.m. via a Facebook Live broadcast. This forum will be focused on community feedback regarding policing and police policy and procedures in Everett.
This initiative was identified as the first priority of the Commission, following the death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests and unrest across the country in June, in recognition of the long overdue need to identify and work towards solutions for issues in law enforcement, whether they be in policy, unconscious or intentional biases, or availability of opportunity. Members of the Commission who have been truly engaged have worked diligently to bring this unprecedented forum to Everett residents.
This has been a challenging undertaking but one that Commission members, led by Bishop Robert G. Brown of Zion Church Ministries, believe is an important first step in what will be an ongoing dialogue not only with law enforcement, but with departments at City Hall and agencies throughout the city. There have been obstacles to overcome, Brown said, as some feel that the Commission has not moved fast enough to address these ongoing issues. He said this perception has led some to believe that the commitment to the cause of equity, inclusion, and unity is superficial.
“The majority of the Commission members, however, remain committed to the mission and have continued to persevere to accomplish the goals they have set forth,” he said.
“If we cannot bring our truth to the table and be willing to speak it, even in the face of those who may oppose it, we cannot succeed in any endeavor,” he said. “If we cannot open our minds and listen to those opinions that we may not share or that may be critical of long-standing policies, we cannot succeed in any endeavor.”
The community forum has been designed to begin that dialogue. Many of the conversations will not be easy. Many of the conversations will make people uncomfortable. But the door to these conversations must be opened, and that is what this forum seeks to do. Brown said it will be a place for those who have felt marginalized, particularly by law enforcement, to come and speak their truth. It will also place for law enforcement to come and listen to those truths, without judgement. This is where progress and healing begin, said Brown.
The Diversity, Inclusion, Equity & Equal Employment Commission has made a long-term commitment to the causes represented in its name. That commitment will not be diminished in the face of criticism by those who feel that their path and the pace at which they travel is the path all must follow. The consistent work by the majority of the Commission members will continue. The end result will be an elevated level of understanding and tolerance in our community. We hope Everett residents will join on this journey.
Additional details regarding the public forum will be published in the newspaper and on social media, or you can email the Commission at [email protected] for information.