In response to the commentary by David Collins (“We must hear, listen for the good of the community,” The Daily News, June 25): I commend Collins’ effort to finally ask questions like, “What do people of color experience, casually and systemically, that I don’t?” and “How are those attitudes baked into our law and policy?” However, and as we all know, talking and doing are, too often, very different enterprises.
I’m not going to pretend to understand what 400 years of oppression does to the psyche of any particular demographic. Nor am I old enough to remember a time when racial segregation and discrimination was viewed as anything less than abhorrent.
Now, what I do recognize are the systemic racism and discriminatory policies that are “baked into policy” right here in Galveston. One of the ways these old-think policies persist is the sheer absence of leadership and the same old reluctance of our public servants to take ownership and address the issues facing our communities.
To suggest that Galveston should simply farm out something as critical as our policies on the use of force to the National League of Cities and adopt their recommendations is weak, unsatisfactory and only serves to deny our residents and police officers their due input and critique.
Galveston is unique in its diversity and culture. Perhaps more unique than any other city in Texas, and our policies, specifically those on the use of force, should be tailored to, and reflect, that same diversity and culture that makes our community awesome.
A few years back, the city of Galveston paid city staff overtime to attend dozens of public meetings to discuss proposed changes to some land uses on Broadway. It was a tedious process, it was imperative that public input be considered, and the city afforded plenty of opportunity for that to happen.
So, if we can invest hundreds of man-hours into discussing setbacks, architectural features and/or whether or not a palm tree is a tree, we should certainly be able to find the time and energy for a local public discussion on our use-of-force policies in our community.
I challenge the Galveston City Council to take ownership of this issue. Don’t farm this process out. In doing so, you flat-out eliminate council’s own opportunity, as David Collins puts it, to “hear and listen for the good of the community.”
Also, the Confederate monument at the courthouse must go.