The Franklin County Commissioners this afternoon joined with other local leaders in expressing their support for a statement and list of action steps put forth by a coalition of local African American leadership addressing racism, bias, and the future of our community. The statement follows several days of widespread protests in Columbus, and many years of strained relations between the police and the African American community in Central Ohio and across the nation.
Commissioner Kevin L. Boyce is a member of the coalition, which also includes leaders from throughout government, the Urban League, NAACP, YWCA, and several local churches. The statement says that circumstances demand that the community face down the evil that is racism, and that nothing less than our collective future is at stake. It welcomes the support of every ally, and says that the community will not relent in its efforts to foster a more respectful, diverse community where the blessings of opportunity are equally available to everyone.
The action steps include calls to seek partnerships with the local Fraternal Order of Police lodge and implement the recommendations of several recent reviews of the Columbus Division of Police. It also calls on state government to join Franklin County and the City of Columbus in declaring racism a public health crisis, and promises to cultivate and respond to the ideas and concerns of young leadership.
The commissioners have been vocal
in their support for the protesters’ cause in recent days, while also calling for restraint from protesters and police alike. Last year, the commissioners highlighted the role that race and racism play in the unequal poverty rates
in our community, and in May the commissioners declared racism to be a public health crisis
. The commissioners also recently contracted with a local firm for race equity consulting services to include forming a race equity council and providing continuing education and training for county staff and strategic partners. All county agency directors and most other leadership have already participated in racial equity training.
The coalition’s full statement and list of action steps can be found at the Columbus Urban League website, CUL.org