There’s a controversy in Colchester after the city’s new first selectman reversed a proclamation enacted in 2020 declaring racism to be a public well being disaster.
The reversal was one of many first actions by the city’s new chief on his first day in workplace.
First Selectman Andreas Bisbikos, a Republican, wrote in a brand new proclamation that the previous proclamation insinuated the city was a racist neighborhood. Bisbikos stated there have been no details or knowledge to backup any assertion to that impact.
NBC Connecticut reached out to Bisbikos for a press release on the change.
“The brand new proclamation issued yesterday is enough in its clarification,” Bisbikos wrote in an e-mail to NBC Connecticut.
The unique declaration asserted “that racism is a public well being disaster affecting our city and all of Connecticut.”
Bisbikos’ choice is getting a combined response.
“I learn it and I used to be just a bit saddened,” stated Colchester Board of Selectman Member Denise Turner in regards to the change. “My household has been right here for over 80 years, I grew up on this city, there are tales I can inform.”
Turner, a Democrat, stated the objective of the unique proclamation was to say there was no room for racism in Colchester, to not categorize the city as racist.
“I believe there’s loads of misunderstandings and folks will hopefully step again and attempt to perceive precisely what’s going on,” Turner stated.
Census knowledge estimates that greater than 9 out of 10 folks in Colchester are white.
The change has created a substantial amount of dialog in the neighborhood.
“It is a small city and even when we did have some discrimination I believe we might speak about it and get it labored out,” stated David Pear.
“I’m a registered republican. What’s proper is correct. And we have to do what’s proper and we have to put politics apart and begin listening to one another,” Krista Kardys informed NBC Connecticut.
Bisbikos stated within the newest proclamation that any proclamations “meant to label and divide” might be condemned.
He asserted that racism has no place on the town and stated his administration will assist numerous variety and inclusion efforts.
The brand new proclamation issued November 15 reads as:
Elimination of the Racism Public Well being Disaster issued on July sixteenth, 2020
WHEREAS, on July sixteenth, 2020 the First Selectman of Colchester issued a proclamation that unfairly and falsely got here to “assert that racism is a public well being disaster affecting our city” with out details or knowledge to again stated assertion;
WHEREAS, by means of proclamation insinuated that the city of Colchester is a racist neighborhood or one the place racism has been allowed to domesticate to the purpose the place it’s deemed a public well being disaster – this with out details or knowledge to again stated assertion;
WHEREAS, on July fifteenth, 2021, the Advert Hoc Committee on Range and Inclusion findings had been offered to the Board of Selectmen and concluded that institutionalized racism doesn’t exist in Colchester;
WHEREAS, state knowledge on Colchester hate crimes has proven that there have been zero hate crimes within the final 5 years or so long as the state has cataloged hate crimes;
WHEREAS, proclamations meant to label and divide might be strongly condemned;
WHEREAS, Colchester has an extended historical past of accepting folks of all backgrounds together with (however not restricted to): race, ethnicity, faith, gender, and sexuality;
WHEREAS, the newly elected Bisbikos Administration believes racism has no place in Colchester;
WHEREAS, the newly elected Bisbikos Administration will assist variety and inclusion by means of (however not restricted to): a overview of HR insurance policies and practices at city corridor, reaching out to various communities, making certain that every one our staff undergo sensitivity coaching, and assembly our state targets on inexpensive housing.
WHEREAS, our neighborhood lives by the immortal phrases of Martin Luther King Jr. the place we “choose a person not by the colour of his pores and skin, however by the content material of his character.” This quote is prolonged to all backgrounds together with (however not restricted to): race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality.
NOW, THEREFORE, on behalf of the city of Colchester, Colchester be it resolved, I do decide to:
1) Eradicate the Racism Public Well being Disaster Proclamation that was formally issued on July sixteenth, 2020 by the earlier administration;
2) Place this Proclamation, issued on November fifteenth, 2021, as a substitute.
Dated this fifteenth day of November.
Andreas Bisbikos, First Selectman
The textual content of the unique proclamation from July 2020 is under.