To the Citizens of Antioch:
There are times in the world and nation when we must all stand together. This week is one of those times. We mourn the needless loss of George Floyd. As we focus on the unconscionable actions of the police officers in Minneapolis, we must condemn police brutality and racism in all forms. As we watch the protests, anger and frustration of our fellow citizens, we must acknowledge that these emotions are not new. That they are deeply embedded in the fabric of our country due to a history of racism and bias that has compounded pain over time. We have talked of change but see the repetition of death and hurt that has found no resolution.
I empathize with the suffering of the African American community. I acknowledge that their frustration is real, and I can feel the anguish of another needless death. I am willing to stand in protest of racism and injustice. I am willing to listen and cooperate as we strive toward solutions that will make our community safer for every citizen. We strive to live in a city that is open to everyone, a place that we can truly call home. At this time, we need to do better and we will do better.
I see what a lot of politicians are putting out – more rhetoric about the problem and how we can change. As Antioch’s Mayor, I’m not going to pontificate on the problem nor its solution. Why? Because I don’t believe all of us fully understand the horrors of racism as it is manifested institutionally through systems of disproportionality and exclusion.
Many of us never experienced it, or even worse, some continue to pretend it doesn’t exist. What I do know, is that the anger, frustration and rage in our community is REAL. I am not condoning the use of violence, but we as a community must acknowledge the reality of being marginalized and misunderstood because of skin color. Racism is a cancer that must be properly diagnosed and treated. Failure to do so will result in the demise of us all. Our communities deserve leaders that will stand up and speak out against any form of racism. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.
So, as your Mayor, I am not stating that I have all the answers but at this time I am willing to advocate. I want you to know that I am here, I stand with, by you and for you, and I’m willing to listen to what you have to say. I want to learn what it is like to walk in your shoes. I embrace you, and want to hear your thoughts on how we can make the city of Antioch a better place. A place that strives for the social, educational and economic equality for every resident. We endeavor to live and labor in a city that looks out for everyone, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, age or your social economic status. I’m hoping that we can begin discussing racism, openly and honestly, together in townhalls across the city. We desire to accomplish this after the Shelter in Place has been rescinded. In the meantime, I welcome your thoughts, your comments, and any and all suggestions on how to move forward with this dialogue. We are ONE Antioch, with common hopes, common dreams, and common desires seeking to arrive at a common destination.
I am available at [email protected] and look forward to your input. Thank you.
Please stay safe.
Mayor Sean Wright
City of Antioch
For those who wish to view the forum: https://www.facebook.com/deltabaycoc/