June 19, 2020
I have chosen this important day to make an announcement. I am establishing a Mayor’s Blue-Ribbon Panel to help us advance equity in Springfield.
On this day, Juneteenth, a day when we honor the official end of slavery in the US in 1865 when news of the abolition of slavery finally reached the slave state of Texas, I want to mark our commitment to addressing inequities. As President Obama said in 2016 “Juneteenth is a time to recommit ourselves to the work that remains undone. We remember that even in the darkest hours, there is cause to hope for tomorrow’s light.”
So today, when communities are taking a serious look at inherent racism in our society, I am asking that we in Springfield take a good honest look at Springfield’s history – with people who can help us define a social compact. An agreement among the members of our community to work together for social benefits that help all of us.
The Mayor’s Blue-Ribbon Panel will be an organized, facilitated panel discussion to talk about how we advance equity in Springfield. The panel will review policy and provide recommendations within policing, city government, and communitywide.
The panel will be inclusive. We will curate it over the summer with meetings starting in September and completed by the end of 2020.
My expectations are that we will have concrete actions, both short and long term, that will address systemic racism, advance equity, and maintain our desire to be a welcoming community for everyone.
It is a time when every community must self-reflect. We must look at our actions and practices, and together develop meaningful changes.
A video of the Mayor’s Statement is available at https://youtu.be/RXbFx2NRBs0