Dear neighbors, residents, and business owners,
As many are aware, this Sunday there will be a rally held at 2:00 pm in Riverfront Park in downtown Troy. Many rallies and protests around the country have caught our attention this past week, for all the wrong reasons. The ones that we have not heard as much about are the countless rallies that have occurred peacefully and which have led to greater empathy, more dialogue and a growing understanding among the comfortable that all is not right in our country.
Troy should be proud to add its voice to that outcry – that black lives do matter. When people say that black lives matter they are not saying that only black lives matter. They are saying that black lives matter so that all lives will matter. That important nuance is too often missed.
Not only do black lives matter, but the quality of those lives matter as well. Starting with prenatal health care, child care, educational attainment, access to job opportunities, housing opportunities, health care and wealth accumulation, why is it that African Americans as a group, fail to attain even third world levels across those metrics? What explains that in this country – the greatest economic superpower in the history of humanity?
If slavery was this country’s original sin, then the lingering effects of this subjugation in the hearts and minds of Americans is a blistering indictment that we have failed to repent for that sin.
What makes this country great is not that we have achieved greatness but that we continually strive to achieve greatness. It is not consistent progress; sometimes we backslide. However, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. noted, the arc of humanity ultimately bends towards justice. Our greatest leaders, the ones we quote and reflect back on understood that. And they understood where the inflection point was in their time.
Perhaps the horrific death of Mr. George Floyd is an inflection point. A point in time we will reflect back on when we made another advancement toward the ideals espoused in our country’s founding documents and the sacred texts of our respective faiths and traditions. It will be so only if we make it so. Only if we all understand that not acting in a racist manner is not sufficient. We need to affirmatively work together to make this a fairer and kinder world for all.
I take a knee in solidarity with the peaceful protesters in humility and empathy and in acknowledgment that collectively we have not lived up to our very own ideals and with a personal commitment to strive harder.
The organizers and supporters of Sunday’s event are working toward a peaceful rally. We take them at their word. Our police department will work with them to ensure everyone’s safety so I would encourage your attendance. Theirs is an important message for our times.
We are mindful that others may come with intentions to injure and destroy. We have made preparations for that eventuality and pray that it does not come to pass.
We are Troy, New York and we are stronger together. Thank you for listening, and please take care of one another.
Mayor, City of Troy