West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor: We Can No Longer Turn Away

West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor participating in the Town Council's first virtual meeting. Courtesy photo

West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor read the following statement aloud at the beginning of a meeting of the Town Council’s Special Advisory Committee on Social and Community Recovery.

As our country and communities fight this unprecedented pandemic, it has laid bare the tremendous inequalities and vulnerabilities of our society. And now we are burning – burning with rage and the pain of witnessing  another tremendous injustice, a killing of an unarmed black man at the hands of law enforcement as officers stand by.

We are in pain recognizing that for generations there have been racial injustices and fundamental rights denied to black people and many people of color. It is so painful to know that when we actually witness these videos of horrible incidents, because they are captured on cellphones, we are keenly aware that they have existed without witness for so long.

BUT now when we see these atrocities – what do we do? We should never have and can no longer turn away. We have to change. Each of us has to be more fair and just. We need to come to terms with our faults and weaknesses.

My heart breaks for the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, and all of the families that have been ripped apart by institutional and systemic racial injustice and violence. We have the hard work of looking at what has so clearly been wrong in our country’s history and fix it.

We need strength and courage to be honest about this and move forward working together to build a better country. Let’s think about every small thing because they become big things – especially when they are repeated over and over without consequence. Let’s take these hopeless and helpless feelings and make the change we need to build a better country, better communities, better citizens.

I want to say thank you to our West Hartford Police Department who are working hard to protect not just some of us but all of us – to be fair and just in their practices and accept the challenge to always be better and to be an integral part of the community they work so hard to keep safe.

For each and every one of our citizens – it is your responsibility to return your census and VOTE!!!!!

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