Statement From the Mayor
I join my voice with all of those who have condemned the killing of George Floyd.
Black Lives Matter.
Leadership is about acknowledging when something is wrong, taking responsibility, and committing to change it.
I have had the benefit of getting to know some of the mayors who are now working to lead cities in the United States through this time. As we have watched this increasing division, I have repeatedly found hope in these local leaders and their vision for a better future.
As Mayor Melvin Carter in St. Paul Minnesota said, “This energy that we’ve seen consume our country … it can either tear us apart at the seams, or it can bring us together in a way that we’ve never been together.”
Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba in Jackson Mississippi said, “I think this is a moment of awakening for our nation. We have to be prepared to do all that it takes, more than just rhetoric, but actual systemic change.”
While we watch these events unfold in the United States, we also have to face the truth that here in Canada, in Saskatchewan, and in Saskatoon, we face many similar issues of our own regarding systemic racism, and historical relationships between racialized communities and the police and justice system.
When I first became a City Councillor in 2006 the Stonechild Inquiry was front and center.
I became mayor in 2016, 2 months after Colten Boushie was fatally shot.
Saskatoon has been ground zero for Idle No More and in the search for justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
These realities are part of our own history that we need to change.
And I know that Police Chief Cooper, the Board of Police Commissioners, and members of the Saskatoon Police Service want to work with the community and be part of this change.
But to make change, it will also take more than the police and justice systems. We need all levels of government and each one of us as members in our community, to act.
I have seen the important work underway among leaders throughout our community – listening and learning, working to develop practices and policies that address deeper issues of inequality.
And I know that a foundation for this will be relationships of trust.
This is a time where all of us have the ability to be part of the change.
We are in a time of deep disruption defined by two pandemics, one is a virus and another the persistent and insidious reality of racism and inequality.
This crisis can also be a defining moment that creates opportunity, if we are prepared to take it together.