To the Editor:
I emailed our village mayor to encourage him to commit to the My Brothers Keeper Mayor Initiative through the Obama Foundation and to make a public statement providing his support for the #blacklivesmatter movement. It took nine days to get a response, which simply read “thank you for your comments.” I also emailed the village police chief asking about police body cams and de-escalation training and have not received a response.
Tonight, June 17, I attended the village council meeting and reiterated the concerns and requests in my email. I was again brushed off by our mayor with “thank you for your comments” and a promise to follow up with the chief about my unanswered email. Since the murder of George Floyd, our Village of Walbridge Facebook page has made 21 posts. Approximately 12 have been related to community matters (free lunches, ongoing closures due to covid, road work etc). Two have been related to baseball, one about a council member’s golf cart, one tribute to the lives lost in the deadly tornado 10 years ago, one Memorial Day post, one D-Day remembrance post, and a few others regarding proper grass cutting, meeting announcements, etc.
On June 14, an appreciation post was made regarding the officers at Walbridge Police Department. Yet, there has still been no mention of George Floyd, police brutality, Rayshard Brooks, protests in the area (including as close as Northwood and Oregon), Breonna Taylor, or anything else related to the unfair treatment of black people in America, a topic that has gripped this nation for over three weeks now.
Why has our mayor been silent on this issue? Is it because we are a predominantly white village? Is it because he naively thinks “it won’t happen” in a village of our size? Is it because he does not believe black lives matter? I don’t know and I can’t get an answer. We have a young, brown son who thinks pretty highly of the mayor. There are other black and brown people in this community. We should have a mayor who believes their lives matter too.