May 31, 2020
Dear neighbors, residents, and business owners,
I’m writing to you today in response what we are witnessing across the country these last few days. I am sure that many of you share the horror at the senseless and violent death of George Floyd.
For many, Mr. Floyd’s death represented a boiling point. People are angry, tired and frustrated with the treatment of people of color in this country, particularly African Americans. People of good conscience are giving voice to that frustration, and I share in these feelings.
In the past several days, we have witnessed protests in communities across the country, including here in the Capital District. Two events have been organized in Troy, scheduled for Wednesday and next Sunday (June 7th). [Please note: there are indications this event may not occur; we are working to verify, and we will update as necessary.]
The right to peacefully protest is something the City strongly supports, honors and protects. It is an important tradition that has brought great and lasting change to our country.– Mayor Patrick Madden
The right to peacefully protest is something the City strongly supports, honors and protects. It is an important tradition that has brought great and lasting change to our country. Past protests were conducted peacefully and without incident; we are optimistic that next week’s events will be similar. We will be reaching out to the organizers & community members to to ensure a safe and respectful opportunity to protest.
If you plan to participate in next week’s events in Troy, we ask that you:
- Respect the community, businesses, and neighbors as you exercise your right to protest peacefully.
- Wear a face covering and practice social distancing to reduce the spread of coronavirus between participants.
- Follow all instructions from local law enforcement, including when crossing high-traffic intersections to ensure the safety of pedestrians
However, if your intent is to become violent or unruly we respectfully urge you to stay home. Damage or destruction to public or private property is counterproductive and unnecessary. I am working with the police department leadership to ensure opportunities for peaceful protest. As more information is available, we will share it with you.
We’re aware of rumors, misinformation & speculation circulating on social media regarding other potential protests. It’s important that you scrutinize what you read online before sharing. Check with official sources like the City’s social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to stay informed. If you see something, say something; contact the Troy Police Department at (518) 270-4411. In an emergency, please call 9-1-1.
In a broader context, like so many issues we face today, this is not an ‘either or’ proposition. It’s important for everyone in the community to understand balance and proportionality. We can condemn the violent acts of police officers whose actions are outside the law without condemning police in general. We can condemn the individual without condemning the institution.
Similarly, we can condemn the violence in our streets without condemning individuals who are genuinely pained to see the injustices that pervade our country. It is easy to generalize one way or the other and paint everyone with the same brush.
The City of Troy condemns racism in all its forms. However, words are often not enough. As long as systemic racism still exists within our society, we must not only condemn it, but actively work to implement policies that eliminate racism from our governments, institutions, and services. Whether it’s housing policy, employment, criminal justice, or countless other facets of our community, it’s clear there’s more work to be done.
Creating positive, lasting change is something that I’m committed to, and have spent my entire adult life working toward. Through communication, open dialogue, and a willingness to engage and listen to the chorus of voices within our community, I am confident we can continue to implement changes that improve the quality of life for all who call Troy, New York home.
Thank you, and take care of one another.
Mayor, City of Troy