Mayor Russ Carpenter, guest columnist.
The City of Richmond Hill, since the killing of George Floyd, has undertaken many discussions and actions regarding racial issues in our country and our beloved city. Our response, thus far, has been the following:
1. Representatives of council and staff, including the Mayor and Police Chief, participated in both video town hall meetings sponsored by the Bryan County chapter of the NAACP (which is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization). This discussion began a county-wide effort to begin a dialogue regarding race related issues.
2. Participation in a Cultural and Diversity Task Force that is meticulously researching racial equity and advancement on three fronts: economic development, education, and criminal justice. Once the findings are complete and reported, Council may choose to act officially in response to any or all of the recommendations of the task force.
3. Small group dialogue with community activists and religious leaders.
4. Working with the VFW on the design of a statue or monument honoring Richmond Hill citizens who fell in battle effort includes local historians Dr. Karen Boles and Mr. Donald Singleton, among others. It will be working with the Richmond Hill Historical Society, and continue to gather the stories of the extensive cultural contributions of African-Americans in Richmond Hill.
We will continue to work with the NAACP and other trusted community partners to advance what we believe is a remarkable history of acceptance and togetherness amongst all races in our excellent city.
The work ahead is both immediate and long-term. We believe that focusing all of our efforts to local initiatives and not becoming embroiled in the strife and division found in other cities with serve this community best. We are a peaceful town and want to remain that way.
The road is unpaved and without signage. However, we know the right direction that moves us forward together as a community – it is the path that values all races unalienable right to equality, acceptance and inclusiveness. Council and city staff are committed to the Richmond Hill community, and will continue to mindfully foster inclusive initiatives for all voices.
Carpenter is mayor of Richmond Hill. He read this statement at Tuesday’s city council meeting.