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City of Urbana is introducing a resolution committing to end structural racism

Resolution #2021-02-005R, a Resolution Committing to End Structural Racism and Achieve Racial Equity, will be presented to the Urbana City Council at their meeting on February 1st. From the press release:

“This powerful resolution calls on us to recognize the pervasive, damaging impact of structural racism on our community. We must work to change the structures, remove the barriers, and identify pathways to equity and opportunity for all people,” Urbana Mayor Diane Wolfe Marlin said.

Further, the resolution recognizes that equality does not come at the expense of another, but ensures that everyone gets what they need to be a full participant in their community. It also states that white supremacy defies what it means to be American by denying the ideals prescribed in the Declaration of Independence and Civil Rights enshrined in the United States Constitution.

The resolution will be introduced to the Council of the Whole by Ward 3 City Council Member, Shirese Hursey and supported by Ward 1 City Council Member, Maryalice Wu. Hursey made it clear as soon as she was appointed by Mayor Marlin two years ago, that one of her goals for Ward 3, and the City as a whole, was to secure equality and equity for all residents and stakeholders in Urbana.

Work on the resolution started back in August, 2020, and was authored by Hursey, with assistance from staff members from the City of Urbana and Champaign County Historical Archives at The Urbana Free Library.

“The clear message is that there is a history of structural racism that we, as a progressive city, need to confront and accept so that we can continue to move forward. It is my hope that this resolution will be a starting point for the city to consider in future plans for the growth of Urbana. My father and mother worked hard to give me and my brother opportunities that were lacking, or non-existent for the African American community when they were growing up. I hope to continue the work that they started.” Hursey said.

Paul Hursey, Sr. was the first African American City Council member in Urbana. “I hope to continue the work that my father started. Racism will not cease unless we all put forth the effort to end it,” Hursey said.

If you are interested in viewing the meeting and/or offering public comment, you can do that on the City of Urbana website.

Top image by Andrew Adams.

Staff writer

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