Since June, residents of Keizer have trickled into city council meeting requesting that the Keizer City Council adopt a resolution of city-wide inclusivity.
On Monday, Aug. 17, the loosely organized group upped the ante requesting personal statement from each city councilor in addition to the resolution.
Resident Andrew Daya said he felt threatened by a passing driver while out walking his dog near his Keizer home three years ago and the on-and-off comments and harassment rarely let up. Daya said the driver stopped to stare at him and then continued on before turning around to glare at him again.
“I’m curious how this council plans to address it and at what point are we going to get a statement from council on inclusivity so that every person feels comfortable on every single road in Keizer,” Daya said.
Mayor Cathy Clark responded that the council was engaged in “taking action on a policy basis” rather than taking up an inclusivity resolution.
“Changing the hearts and minds of people in the city is going to be an ongoing conversation,” Clark said.
She added that Daya lived in her neighborhood and she, for one, was happy to have him as a neighbor.
In addition to speaking in favor of a resolution, resident Sarah Grantham was pointed in her critique of some prejudicial attitudes she’s seen on display in the city.
“When kids [of color] leave an inclusive area, like a park, they’re a problem. They’re thugs or in the street or riding in and out of cars and not on the sidewalk,” Grantham said. “These kids need support, they are not a problem going from the park to home.”
Resident Brandon Sherrard spoke in favor of a resolution from the “standpoint of a white male.”
“Discrimination or prejudice, overt or otherwise, does real harm. People say I don’t do that, I’m a good person … but it can manifest in ways we don’t notice and it’s important to listen to people who feel otherwise is the case,” Sherrard said. “Prejudice has a way of propagating from individual to individual. Having the statement or resolution leads to conversations and that will hopefully result in change.”
RJ Navarro, who is vying against Rep. Bill Post in November, read a sample resolution into the record and called for its adoption. However, after the meeting, he added that the city should not stop at words.
“It’s important that the City of Keizer takes genuine steps towards systemic change after the resolution is passed. Saying you want to be an inclusive city and then funding the chamber with tax dollars (that immigrant communities also pay into) which will then be used to endorse candidates that advocate for deporting and criminalizing those very same taxpayers is dishonest, to say the least,” Navarro said.
You can read a copy of Navarro’s suggested language for an inclusivity resolution at www.keizertimes.com.