After enormous build-up, it was a let-down that the final vote had to happen via teleconferencing.
Still, as of Monday, Dec. 7, the City of Keizer has an official statement of values touching on many aspects of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. Members of the council voted unanimously to adopt the statement.
“Thanks for the work, I know it got tense. But I am proud of everybody and the work we’ve done,” said Councilor Roland Herrera.
The statement of values is the result of months of resident testimony and a lot of conceded ground on the part of Keizer city council members.
The statement includes, among other elements: a definition of white supremacy as well as a condemnation of it; recognition of historical laws and policies that maintained discrimination and disparity; recognition of all gender identities and sexual orientations; a nod to the Tribal Nations that once inhabited the land; and a “commitment to ensure that all members of the community are free from acts that are rooted in racism, discrimination, intolerance, bigotry and hostility.”
The totality of the statement likely places Keizer near the forefront in the state as far as the breadth to which it goes to be inclusive.
Herrera questioned why it was not called an “inclusivity resolution” instead of a statement of values, but was willing to cede the point when no one offered an answer.
The only other issue raised before a vote came from Mayor Cathy Clark who asked that the section regarding the tribal history of the land be withheld until a conversation could be had with leaders in the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde and Confederated Tribes of the Siletz.
“I would rather get their input and then amend the language then,” said Clark, who set a timeline for such a discussion to take place within the first quarter of 2021.
Councilor Kim Freeman’s reply prompted Clark to withdraw her friendly amendment.
“I am not someone with tribal lineage, but I would hate for us to start out by excluding someone,” Freeman said.
Keizer Statement of Values Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Whereas, All people shall be treated with dignity and respect; and whereas, “All” people includes but is not limited to the Federal and State Definitions of Protected Classes of people:
a. Federal definition – Race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, disability
b. State of Oregon additions – Source of income, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity; and whereas, equity is both a process and an outcome; and whereas, we recognize that government practices, policies, laws and regulations have historically resulted in discrimination and disparity against people based on any protected class listed above; and
whereas, the belief system of white supremacy is defined as follows: “that the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white people should have control over people of other races; the social, economic, and political systems that collectively enable white people to maintain power over people of other races;” and
whereas, we acknowledge that the land upon which the people of Keizer live has historical and cultural roots in native Tribal Nations.
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the City Council of the City of Keizer that the City of Keizer welcomes every person regardless of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, disability, source of income, marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Be it further resolved that the City of Keizer repudiates the belief system of white supremacy and condemns racism and is committed to the elimination of all forms of racism everywhere it exists.
Be it further resolved that the City of Keizer affirms its commitment to ensure that all members of the community are free from acts that are rooted in racism, discrimination, intolerance, bigotry, and hostility. We will strive to inspire and continually pursue a culture of safety and wellbeing.
Be it further resolved that this resolution is an aspirational statement and does not create any legal cause of action or modify any existing rights.
Be it further resolved that this resolution is not a legislative action.
Be it further resolved that this resolution shall take effect immediately upon the date of its passage.