At its virtual meeting on July 14, the Glastonbury Town Council discussed racism as a public health crisis, and..
The resolution cites race as a social construct, and racism as unfairly causing disadvantages to specific individuals and communities. It also points to racism as a cause of discrimination and disparate outcomes in many areas in life, including housing, education, employment, criminal justice and health.
Councilwoman Deb Carroll said that the resolution would give the town’s leaders the ability to discover and address issues of inequity in the community.
“There is much that Glastonbury does right, and I’m grateful for our strengths,” Carroll said. “That said, we don’t know what we don’t know. We need to acknowledge that we’re not immune from this crisis, and that we’re obligated to engage in the process of self-examination, in order to determine where we might be falling short.”
Councilwoman Lillian Tanski said that the matter is a difficult one for many to discuss.
“As a mixed-race woman, raised by my Black mother and grandmother, I never escaped racism in my childhood,” Tanski said. “Whether it was racial slurs, or growing up with my mother’s and grandmother’s constant fear for my safety, there has never been a day that I haven’t thought about what it means to be Black in America, and that includes living here in Glastonbury as a light-skinned woman most people see as white.”
The moment, Tanski said, brings new friction, but also new hope.
“I believe all of us on the town council want to do better by Glastonbury,” she said. “We have a chance for conversations with our town that are long overdue.”
Councilman Whit Osgood said he didn’t think the resolution was one on which the council should vote.
“In my mind, it could easily be considered nothing but window dressing,” Osgood said, adding that he would recommend a resolution to form a subcommittee to address the issue.
The council tabled the matter to its next meeting on July 28, encouraging residents to share their views in the interim. Carroll said she and Tanski would work together to draft a resolution outlining some specifics to Glastonbury, to bring to the meeting on July 28.
For more information, visit www.glastonbury-ct.gov.
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