City residents often express appreciation for the racial, ethnic, linguistic and economic diversity we’re fortunate to have in our community. But not all residents have shared in the benefits that come with higher home prices or new business openings. And many of our neighbors haven’t always felt able to engage fully in civic life. Ensuring our racial equity policy is more fully implemented and delving deeply into police reform can help address those challenges. The Council also needs to take further steps to empower our youth, our immigrant and non-English speaking neighbors, residents with developmental disabilities, seniors, and those with low and moderate incomes. I’ve worked hard to expand opportunities for members of all these communities, and I’ll continue to place a high priority on that effort. In addition, I’m proud to have joined in events and initiatives to publicly reaffirm Takoma Park’s commitment to being a safe place for immigrants, LGBTQ residents, racial and ethnic communities, and other groups that have had limited access to the City’s resources.
- Racial Equity Policy -- I’m very pleased we adopted this landmark policy, which has helped the Council maintain an appropriate focus on racial equity in every measure that comes before us. I look forward to expanding the policy’s reach as we work on police reform, housing and economic development and other issues.
- Budget Priorities -- Support for inclusiveness is often expressed through the annual City budget, and I’ve been a strong supporter of Council actions to refocus grants and other programs so they more directly benefit lower income and Black and Brown residents, along with immigrants and those with disabilities.
Sanctuary City -- I see this as a core value in Takoma Park. I’ve testified before the State Legislature in support of statewide sanctuary legislation.
- Translation Efforts -- I’ve been a consistent advocate for more translation of City documents, and I’m pleased that through my advocacy the monthly newsletters now have a message on page one in Spanish, French and Amharic with details on where to find translations of the articles. I’ll be pressing for more progress in this area.
Human Rights Resolution -- I helped shape the resolution passed this year expressing our commitment to Human Rights and Inclusivity, and I was glad to be at the rally against anti-Semitism at the Gazebo in January.
- Council Compensation -- when we appointed a resident task force to advise us on Council compensation I suggested we ask them to look into whether the part-time pay is a barrier for many residents to potential service on the Council. And while I’m glad the task force did recommend a significant pay increase for that reason, the idea’s on hold for now because of COVID-19.
- Re-naming Civil War General Streets -- I’d previously favored retaining the names with plaques putting them in historical context. I’m now reconsidering that idea in light of the developments connected to the police killings of Black people. We should at least change the street in Takoma Park named for Robert E. Lee.
- Youth Council -- I was part of early planning meetings on creation of the Council, and I’m pleased it’s given young people in the City an important platform.