Mayor’s memo: Listening, learning and moving forward

By Mayor Tim Busse

Words cannot express my sadness and disappointment seeing what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis. It is unacceptable that we once again see members of our Black community experiencing hurt, pain and a life lost. My thoughts are with all those impacted and their families, friends and communities. 

Over the last several years, we have made progress on the Bloomington City Council’s strategic priority of advancing equity and inclusion. However, there’s still so much more work to be done. We ourselves have struggled at times to break away from the systems and structures that have perpetuated these injustices, but I am committed to learning from these mistakes. 

Of course, the “how” is the tricky part—especially in the middle of a global pandemic. Fortunately, we have strong resources in place that can help us. The efforts of our Community Outreach and Engagement Division, and the Bloomington Police Department’s Community Liaison and Multicultural Advisory Team give us the structure to continue to build relationships and break down barriers. And Faith Jackson, the City’s racial equity coordinator, is an outstanding resource for all of us in this area. 

I think it’s important to also call out and thank our public safety professionals in Bloomington. Our police
officers and firefighters put in a lot of hours in early June and as usual, they did so with the professionalism and integrity that we’ve all come to expect.

But it’s an effort that goes far beyond City Hall and will require a commitment from all of Bloomington. We need to align the efforts of residents, the City, our schools, our houses of faith, and our nonprofit and business community in a way that allows us to listen, to learn, and to move forward.

The encouraging part is that we’ve already seen Bloomington residents step forward and I couldn’t be more proud. I’m proud of the community members who powerfully and peacefully voiced their pain, frustration and call to action in response to George Floyd’s unjustifiable death. I’m proud to see the donations of food, supplies and money for relief efforts in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Thanks to all who donated, and thanks to the organizers. These are good first steps. Let’s find ways to make them continue.

We will amplify our efforts to create and support an inclusive culture that values and advances racial equity. We are committed to authentically engaging communities most affected by racial inequities and injustice in ways that foster shared learning, understanding and power.

We will listen. We will learn. We will move this work forward.