Park City may read against racism | ParkRecord.com

Park City may read against racism

Leaders want to address Charlottesville

by Jay Hamburger
THE PARK RECORD

Park City students and adults may have an opportunity to read against racism.

The Park City Council, spurred by comments from City Councilor Andy Beerman, held a brief discussion in late August about some sort of municipal response to the racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Beerman told Mayor Jack Thomas and the other City Councilors residents approached him after the violence saying they were disappointed. Some of the people he spoke to apparently mentioned the prospects of the City Council passing a resolution or taking a similar action. Beerman, though, indicated a resolution is something that makes a statement from the elected leadership, but it is not the same as some sort of action.

"I know that's something that isn't a principal issue in town here, but we see it at times," Beerman said.

Beerman said he has been told of a program in Boulder, Colorado, that addresses racial issues. The program is known as Reading to End Racism and is organized by the YWCA Boulder County.  It describes itself as "a racial justice program that uses trained volunteers to read to children in the classroom and, through books and personal stories, stimulate an insightful conversation about discrimination."

Beerman said the program provides an opportunity for volunteers, perhaps members of the City Council, to read books to students that "address racism head-on." It would "just show leadership in the community, making it an issue and working with folks in their formative stages," he said.

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Beerman said perhaps a similar program could be attempted at the Park City Library "as our small reaction to show that this is something that shouldn't be tolerated, won't be tolerated in our community."

Other members of the City Council agreed that Beerman could broach the issue with City Manager Diane Foster and Adriane Herrick Juarez, who is the director of the Park City Library. There was also talk that the officials headed to Boulder this week as part of the annual fact finding City Tour to other communities in the West could learn about Reading to End Racism while they are there.

More information about the YWCA of Boulder County program is available on the organization's website, www.ywcaboulder.org/rer.