addressing race in summit
“The death of George Floyd—and so many others—is a vivid and devastating reminder of the systemic racism and inequities that exist across our country and even right here in Summit County.”
I couldn’t tell you how old I was. Or what the name of the school was. I can’t tell you why I was there, but I have an incredibly vivid recollection of going to a school competition, where I walked into the cafeteria and I was the only white kid in the room. It’s an experience that would forever change the way I thought about race, racism, equity, what it feels like to be labeled based on the color of my skin rather than who I am. At that moment, the color of my skin defined me—but it was only a minute. Yet so many are defined in that way—every second, every minute, every day of their lives.
This is how I’ve come to understand the concept and the impact of inequity.
The death of George Floyd—and so many others—is a vivid and devastating reminder of the systemic racism and inequities that exist across our country and even right here in Summit County. It’s overwhelming and frustrating. How do we “fix” this? How do we make it stop?
Many of us value our relationships with our local law enforcement and people of color. It shouldn’t be one or the other, but I know that the only thing that will fix this—the only thing that will move us forward instead of becoming paralyzed by inaction—is to talk about it.
It’s time to stop being afraid that we’ll say the wrong thing to one another. It’s time to stop waiting for others to tell us everything will be okay. It’s time to acknowledge that systemic racism is pervasive and exists all around us and, to fix it, we must start with ourselves.
To develop a more equitable community, we must own what each one of us can do to change our outlook, to make an impact on not just our own actions but those within our communities and personal spheres of influence. I strive every day to understand my own privilege and to acknowledge and challenge my own biases. I strive every day to validate the experiences of those that are different than my own.
It may not feel like much. But it’s a beginning and, perhaps, if all of us make a commitment to talk and to take action, we’ll find ourselves inching closer to a more equitable Summit County.
addressing race: Priorities
- We must follow the lead of the Town of Breckenridge and establish a Social Equity Commission that takes a hard look at areas of improvement across all departments in the County, with feedback from stakeholders and, most importantly, those impacted by bias in Summit County
- We need to properly address the role of law enforcement as the first responders to calls for behavioral health
- We must look at how changes in Colorado law, especially in light of SB-217 (Police Accountability), will impact our law enforcement team and look for improvements above and beyond this new law, and do so in cooperation with our Sheriff.
- We need to address funding mechanisms for social services to ensure balance with the number one priority being prevention