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The City Takes a Stand

The City Takes a Stand

by Mary Clymer on June 19, 2020


The City Takes a Stand

Leaders in our Community Speak Out

The City of Renton Mayor and Council speak up on matters of liberty and justice for all. I almost missed it. With all the confusion and noise we are being inundated with these days, it’s easy to miss some valid information. That was the case for me with statements being made about social inequalities from our city leaders.

Council President Ruth Pérez reached out to me. Sharing information from the council and the Mayor's office. I wanted to post it here as another source of displaying positive information from our City leaders.

I subscribe to the mayor's newsletter, which you can find here. Since March instead of weekly information, I get a COVID update daily. This is wonderful, but I find myself not reading as much because, for me, every day is too much. Because of this I have missed some valuable information and was beginning to wonder when our leaders would take a stand on the current issues being surfaced around the death of George Floyd and the city's action plan on how to handle police brutality. 

Council President Ruth Pérez, who is both an immigrant and a person of color saw my concerns and addressed them head on the way she does. 

Her statement on the matter, "We condemn the actions that led to the death of George Floyd and so many other members of the African American community that have lost their lives in an unjust, unfair and cruel way.

"As an immigrant and a woman of color, I know first- hand what discrimination and racial injustice look like. It is time to listen, to build relationships, to speak out, and end racism. Our priority has been to develop an ongoing forum with our African American community for improving communication, understanding, trust, and mutual respect. We strongly believe individuals and whole communities must be engaged in a conversation about racism.”

Her words are from the heart, and her actions have always been backed by her intentions. Renton is lucky to have a strong leader like Councilwoman Pérez. She will stand up or all in her community and is seemingly unafraid. Being an immigrant in our justice system gives her a unique perspective and eye on the matter.

Councilmember Ed Prince also took a stand on the issue.

"As an African American, I understand what so many in our community are feeling and have been feeling. I am committed to addressing the historic systemic disparities that create winners and losers.

"The demographics of Renton have changed and, as a government, we have been diligent in our work on diversity, equity, and inclusion. I know my colleagues are also committed to continuing that work so all residents feel like they have a seat at the table."

Nobody on our council can understand what this must be like for Ed. As a black man, and as a Father raising black children. Yet Ed, as always, remains calm and seeks to understand issues from the inside out. His leadership is going to be a huge asset as we all navigate through these uncertain times.

As for the rest of the council, I haven’t seen any official statements. I have noted their personal support via social media posts and seeing them at local protests on the matter. I am confident in our elected leaders. I know they lead with their hearts and have only the best intentions for our community.

Our newly elected Mayor, Armondo Pavone, has had quite a ride in his first six months as executor of the city. As if learning the ropes wasn’t enough, COVID comes along and then social unrest. 

Mayor Pavone took the mic at a vigil earlier this month sponsored by the Renton African American Pastors and Renton Interfaith Group. Mayor Pavone had some heartfelt things to say. He also put out a statement that somehow got buried and I wanted to share it here for those, like me, who might have missed it.

“The actions we all witnessed in the video of George Floyd were extremely disgusting and go against the core values of the City of Renton as well our Police Department’s fundamental principle of protecting life. The death of Mr. Floyd was unnecessary, wrong, and deserves our attention, our compassion, and our sympathy. The impact of this incident is worthy of anger, disappointment, and requires that we start work immediately to repair and improve the relationships damaged by this event.”

“I can assure you the City of Renton strives each day to build trust with every member of our community. George Floyd’s death is a sober reminder of just how quickly trust can be lost and the urgent need to come together and continue our work has only just begun.”

No official message on how the City is working towards improving these relationships, but these things take time. The Mayor is correct in stating that now is the time we need to work on building up together. 

I appreciate in a community as diverse as Renton that we have strong leaders who are working to improve the downfalls in our government. I was always taught that if you want to make a difference you must get involved locally. These local leaders have set the stage for us all to gather around to create a better future for all.

Renton has proved to be ahead of the curve. Back in April of 2017 the council adopted a stand against racism. You can find a link to that proclamation here.

We are still in the midst of this monumental time in our history. It’s hard to see clearly when daily we are shown more information of and images of hate and unjust. It is wise to remember to take time and breathe. Reminding ourselves and those around us that not all is lost. Not all news is bad news. And indeed there are more of us in the world and in our local community seeking to bridge the gaps of unjust. More of us are working towards a brighter tomorrow.

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