STATEMENT BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF PITTSBURG
The Pittsburg City Council is saddened, horrified, and angry over the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer and the recurring disparities and injustices that afflict our society. We grieve for Mr. Floyd along with his family and friends, our community, and the multitude of people in this Country that have declared that enough is enough. We also grieve for Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the countless other African Americans who have unjustly been killed.
The racism that persists in America is appalling. Communities of color have for too long felt the pain, hurt, anger, and fear caused by the institutions that fail to listen, acknowledge them, or address the trauma and economic hardships brought on by centuries of inequality. The fact that African American men, women and children are being killed by those sworn to serve and protect them is deplorable. We must address both the obvious wrongdoings – those that are seen and heard, captured on video, and posted to social media – as well as the less-obvious but no less harmful implicit behaviors borne from years of oppression.
From peaceful protests to disruptive riots, the voice of the unheard is rising and bringing attention to the perpetual injustices taking place. As a nation, we must decide what our Country stands for and how to uphold and implement those values; that effort starts here, at the local level. We know you are demanding change, that you be heard, and that your City reflect the diverse and proud people that make it special.
The City of Pittsburg will not sit silently while these issues continue to plague our society. The Pittsburg City Council is committed to taking a leadership role in making the changes that are long overdue. We will work to restore and earn the confidence of our residents in their government and law enforcement.
The City Council supports our public safety personnel in the goal of keeping our City safe. Many of our law enforcement officers are current or former residents of Pittsburg and part of the very fabric of our community. For transparency, our officers are required to wear body worn cameras and record all public interactions. They work hard, and often face difficult and potentially dangerous situations. We strive to continue to work with the Police Department to increase the level of respect within our community.
The City has or will be taking the following steps immediately:
· On June 3, 2020, a special meeting of the City Council was held to discuss the events that had transpired to date, along with needed actions to fully address the ongoing issues facing our City, State, and nation. At this meeting, the City Council also directed staff to draft a letter to be sent to all Contra Costa County Mayors, calling for solidarity and commitment to addressing the injustices of racism in America.
· On June 8, 2020 and June 10, 2020, special meetings of the City Council will be held to review policing practices within the City of Pittsburg. At these meetings, the City Council will also be voting on a resolution condemning the actions of the officers involved in Mr. Floyd’s murder and requesting they be swiftly and appropriately charged and prosecuted.
· On June 20, 2020, the City Council will be holding a virtual town hall with the Chief of Police to discuss community needs and concerns.
As we move forward, we must recognize that racism continues to curse our society. We hope to begin conversations to address the institutional actions that contribute to this plague. We are committed to addressing systemic inequities created by governmental and law enforcement policies as well as the trauma and economic hardships caused by them. As we move forward, the dialogue between our residents, business owners, educators, and City officials will be critical. We do not pretend to have all the answers, but we will listen, and we will act.
Change is difficult, but it is in times like these that we can come together as residents of Pittsburg, of Contra Costa County, of California, and of the United States of America. We ask that all the people of Pittsburg join us in reflecting on how we can be better neighbors, better employers, better civil servants, and how we can work to remedy the ills that sicken our society.
Jelani Killings, Mayor
Merl Craft, Vice Mayor
Holland Barrett White, City Council Member
Shanelle Scales Preston, City Council Member
Juan Antonio Banales, City Council Member
CC Reso 20-13791