Guest opinion: On matters of equality, City Hall doesn’t speak for all of us
The current dialogue over the Black Lives Matter street graffiti is troubling to many of us. Park City leadership claims to have sought and received unanimous approval by both the arts community and the general public, but no one we have spoken to had any idea it was coming until the streets were defaced. At taxpayer expense. Why did this issue warrant such public exposition? We don’t recall that Park City allowed street painting to celebrate the Olympics or to comment on any national or local community crisis (9/11, school shootings, drug deaths at Park City schools, etc.) Why Black Lives Matter?
How can anyone argue with the phrase “All Lives Matter”? Does this not better reflect Park City’s diversity of Latinos, whites and those from other racial backgrounds? If we are to have slogans defacing the Main Street of our beautiful ski town, would it not be better to have them reflect all of us? Those who edited the original, narrow message did so carefully in order that they would not devalue the amended message as vandalism. For many of us, “All Lives Matter” speaks far more eloquently for our community.
Our mayor says, “… (R)esidents are feeling that we must also re-examine our social norms. Achieving equity will require us to take a stand and become anti-racist, to create opportunity for all of our residents and to finally build a healthy and complete community. It will require a new social contract that is more inclusive and unbiased.” So now he assumes he can speak for all of us — asserting that we all believe ourselves guilty of racism? Our vigilante of ideological purity assumes we do not now have a “healthy and complete community.” We find this offensive. Park City leadership is supporting the spreading national culture of accusation, putting us all on trial for views that some/many may have held in the past. To us, imposing this guilt narrative is not the way to achieve equity and justice. What does the mayor’s “new social contract” look like, and where are we now falling short of his vision?
Systemic racism exists. Because of recent heinous acts of brutality, our country and our community sense where we fall short and what we can do to end injustice to all underrepresented groups. We do not need our city leadership to racially shame us or exert their self-appointed ideological intolerance in a new “social contract.” We all — people of all races together — must eliminate the cloud of continuing injustice. Supporting black victimization and white guilt aren’t the answer.
We suggest supporting what is good in Park City, and there is plenty there to support. Work with our police department, business owners, educators and civic and religious leaders to identify where we can be better than we are. We don’t need political street graffiti to move us forward towards community solidarity.
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“Where will we get the water, sewage treatment, police, fire, city services, broadband capacity and green power? How will we stop the gridlock that will result from all this expansion?” asks Victor Janulaitis.