The City of Eugene recognizes the harmful impact racialized violence has had on Black People throughout our city’s, state’s, and nation’s history.
We, the undersigned city councilors and mayor, say clearly and loudly: Black Lives Matter.
The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery were enabled by a culture of oppression and dehumanization that has deep roots in our society. Dismantling this culture will require us to think about what people with privilege, especially White Privilege, should be doing to change this culture, and challenging systemic bias in our neighborhoods, businesses, and our city government.
As elected officials we recognize the privilege we hold and our responsibility to use that privilege to end bigotry, discrimination and systemic bias. Some of us have marched alongside the demonstrators, but we know that speeches and demonstrations are not enough.
One place we can start this re-examination is with our police. While Eugene’s Hate and Bias Reporting system is used nationally as a model of best-practice and our partnership with CAHOOTS is being cited as an example to cities across America, we recognize more can be done and change needs to be faster. There is a great deal more to do before communities of color and others who have been marginalized will truly feel protected and served by our law enforcement officers.
We recognize there is a need for immediate change, but just as systemic racism runs deep in our institutions, so will our work need to be deep, thoughtful and reflective. We want to assure you that we are taking immediate steps. The Police Chief has already revised the policy regarding the use of chokeholds and the independent police auditor has begun investigations into all recent complaints regarding police use of force.
We are committed to 21st century policing and police reform. We are ready to engage with communities of color to listen to their ideas and input on how we can do better in this area. We recognize that there is a history to be overcome and we are dedicated to working together to do that. This work will likely take the form of a task force that includes elected officials, representatives from communities of color and others who have a stake in this important work.
We believe there is a need to look at our city policies through an equity lens with the goal of reforming city policies that continue a legacy of racism. This is long-term work that will take time and dedication to accomplish, but it must be done if we are to achieve equality and justice in our community.
We pledge to continue working on this issue and not to forget – even after the current marches spurred by the senseless and unjust death of George Floyd have ended. We hear you, and we are listening to you: Black Lives Matter.
Councilors: Greg Evans, Chris Pryor, Emily Semple, Claire Syrett, Jennifer Yeh, Alan Zelenka
Mayor: Lucy Vinis