On June 17 the Warwick Town Board voted on a resolution acknowledging racism. The resolution adopted was substantially different from the one submitted in March by Joan Tirrell, Pat McMillan and 18 other residents, and published in the papers at that time. \
The original resolution was neither read at the June 17 meeting nor submitted into the minutes of the meeting.
I was pleased to see that the Town Board resolution did take a stand against racism and strongly supported equal treatment for all people.
However, most speakers at the town meeting spoke in opposition to the original resolution and particularly the phrase “Black Lives Matter,” wording that did not appear in the town resolution.
I would like to thank Supervisor Sweeton for keeping order at this emotional meeting so that everyone who wished to had a chance to speak and be heard.
The board members did not discuss the resolution it did pass, nor give reasons why they did not accept the one submitted to it. I believe a resolution like this deserved some public discussion by our elected officials.
A note of optimism is that some members of the audience said they were willing to sit down and talk with others about this issue. One of the reasons for the divisiveness and anger we so often see today is a different reading of issues and the inability of people to talk with each other despite their differences.
I hope some true dialogues can come out of this meeting. So often we live in our own bubbles, interacting only with those who agree with us.
If we have differences of opinion, we may hesitate to voice them because a bitter argument may result.
It is crucial that we attempt to bridge this divide in a civil manner. I know I cannot speak for another’s experiences, but I can listen with an open mind to their truth. No one can speak for my experiences, but I appreciate it when someone listens to mine. I hope that the meeting regarding the resolution will spark some productive discussions that remind us that we are neighbors and fellow citizens.