The call for Keizer to declare itself a city of inclusion has been on the table for several years now—proposed by some city council members and segments of the public.
The twin movements of #MeToo and Black Lives Matter should have pushed this issue front and center for the city council. Passing a resolution declaring Keizer a city of inclusivity is an easy task. And yet no resolution is forthcoming.
The City Charter task force discussed adding language about inclusivity in its proposal to the city council. It was decided that adding it the city charter could invite legal action. Not an improbable move in our litigious society.
A number of Keizer citizens spoke with passion about inclusivity at the Aug. 17 city council meeting. Some of those who appeared described their own encounters with racism on the streets of the city.
You know an issue is important when citizens comes to speak before the city council, always intimidating in the best of circumstances. It is heartbreaking to hear what some people in our community endure—racial slurs, derogatory remarks. A resolution won’t change hearts and minds overnight. It does no harm for the city council to put Keizer on the right side of the issue.
An inclusivity resolution is a statement declaring Keizer a safe space for everyone regardless of race, creed, national origin, gender identity, sexual identity, religion, income level, marital status or physical ability.
There is no impediment to moving an inclusivity resolution across the goal line. The city of Salem and the Salem-Keizer School District have adopted similar resolutions. A modern city should be at the front of the parade on this issue, not holding back to see which way the wind blows.
Keizer and its citizens deserve better than continue to wait for a simple resolution that recognizes their dignity and quality of life.