Acknowledging and Supporting our Residents and Communities of Color
On June 9, 2020, the City of College Park’s Mayor and Council passed Resolution 20-R-16 renouncing systematic racism and declaring support of Black lives. The resolution affirms that Black Lives Matter. It acknowledges that certain public policies have created wide disparities of well-being and opportunity for Black people in College Park and throughout the United States that have led to systematic racism. This includes the past practice and policy by the City that has disadvantaged Black residents and the historically Black community of Lakeland. It also recognizes the targeting, profiling, injury and murder of Black lives by law enforcement throughout the country at inexplicable rates.
The City’s Mayor and Council has resolved to explicitly, directly, consciously, and painstakingly seek out and confront systematic racism as well as acknowledge and apologize for the City’s history of oppression. The City will actively seek opportunities for accountability and truth-telling about past injustices and aggressively seek opportunities for restorative justice. On Tuesday, June 30, the City held its first town hall by bringing together a cross section of our community to discuss race relations and healing. The virtual forum entitled "Continuing the Conversation" had panelists from the City, Prince George’s County, State, police, University of Maryland and our community discuss the importance of real change and how to move forward.
Panelists included Delegate Joseline Melnyk, Prince George’s County Council Members Dannielle Glaros and Calvin Hawkins, Mayor Patrick Wojahn, University of Maryland Professor of African-American Studies and Anthropology Dr. Joseph Richardson, Prince George’s County Police Deputy Chief George Nichols and Captain Katina Gomez, University of Maryland Chief of Police David Mitchell, City residents Dr. Fannie Featherstone and Rashida and Demitri Tyler as well as University students Rachelle Wakefield and Taylor Green. The panelists discussed issues such as police funding, community initiatives and police-community relations in the City and Prince George’s County. Panelists also asked each other questions and discussed current activities and future actions by government and police entities for further transparency and increased racial equity.
The town hall is a step for the City to listen to residents, analyze its practices, and build racial equity in College Park. Since late 2019, City staff have joined and participated in the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE). The Alliance is a national network of government entities working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. On July 7, during a Mayor and Council worksession, staff will discuss GARE’s approach to creating racial equity and projects staff have started.
A recording of the virtual forum as well as the complete Resolution can be found on the City’s website at www.collegeparkmd.gov/blacklivesmatter.