MAYVILLE, NY – On Wednesday night, members of the Chautauqua County Legislature voted to denounce racism countywide, while promoting equality and inclusion for all.
The motion, which passed unanimously, was introduced bi-partisanly by Legislators David Wilfong (R-Jamestown) with co-sponsors Tom Nelson (D-Jamestown), Susan Parker (D-Fredonia), Lisa Vanstrom (R-Ellicott), Billy Torres (D-Jamestown), Tom Harmon (R-Silver Creek), Elisabeth Rankin (R-Jamestown) and Bob Bankoski (D-Dunkirk) signing on.
Racism, in all forms, is an issue that continues to cause harm, division and injustice within our society. The county firmly believes in equality, justice and respect for all individuals, irrespective of their race, ethnicity, or cultural background and recognizes that a diverse and inclusive environment benefits everyone by promoting understanding, empathy, and a sense of belonging.
As a result of the motion’s passage, Chautauqua County remains committed to denouncing racism and striving to make the County a better place to live, work and play.
“The motion is a good start. However, this is not as though we can just check a box on a to-do list and say ok we fixed that and consider it done and move on,” agreed Legislators Nelson, Torres, Bankoski, and Parker. “This is a process, not an event. It will take time, our county and our country have always been a work in progress, so as legislators we can look forward to establishing a working relationship with this group of pastors, and community leaders, and ensuring that Chautauqua County is a place where all people feel welcomed and feel they belong.”
Furthermore, the Chautauqua County Legislature, with great pride, hereby proclaimed the County to be a welcoming community open to all individuals while denouncing all forms of racism.
“We are taking a stand against racism. We need to respect, value and celebrate each person regardless of race ethnicity or cultural background,” continued Legislators Rankin, Wilfong, Vanstrom and Harmon. “Every individual has unique experiences and perspectives that contribute to our community. Acknowledging that diversity creates a richer life experience opens us up to deeper understanding and stronger relationships. We must keep talking, listening and working to end racism.”
The County Legislature urges all residents to join in the fight to end all forms of racism and injustice. There is consideration of continuing this community-county discussion in the next few months.