Myles for Rockville
In light of the tragic murder of yet another unarmed person who is African American I have ironically experienced hope. Seeing people of all backgrounds raising their voices to reaffirm that Black Lives Matter in a demonstration here in Rockville that I am told was planned by a young woman who is also a high school student is an indication to me that this nightmare we are living through will end. It will end not just because people have raised their voices in protest, but that they demanded more of their communities, the police and their elected officials. And for that I want to offer my sincere thanks.
I also thank the men, women and leadership of the Rockville Police Department and their counterparts from Montgomery County for their work in keeping demonstrators safe as they marched. I thank them also for providing an example of how to secure a demonstration without resorting to the use of riot gear, pepper spray or aggressive tactics. It is not lost on me that I am thanking them for doing their job. However, many of us have seen the news reports from across this nation that policing protests has sometimes resulted in violent confrontations, damage to property and, most unfortunately, further loss of life.
Finally, I thank our neighbors who were patient, understanding and respectful as demonstrators exercised their first amendment rights. Though streets were temporarily closed resulting in minor delays, motorists were largely supportive and cheered the demonstrators onward. And, I have also seen several yard signs, handmade and otherwise, affirmatively stating their support of this movement.
I commend my colleagues for being courageous and outspoken regarding eliminating racism. However, we elected officials, like the police, deserve no praise for simply doing our job. We are in a moment where the actions we take will speak louder than any hashtag, yard sign or statement of solidarity. And, in this moment, our job is to eliminate all forms of racism and bias. This will require work and I am confident that we will rise to the task.
In addition to having a forward-thinking Police chief and open-minded neighbors, we have a critical mass of people who recognizes that Rockville can be an even better place for all of us to live—especially the marginalized. I humbly ask that you, our neighbors, actively participate in this necessary work with us as we examine the things that this City and Police Department are doing well, the areas that need improvement and take the concrete actions to address the identified deficiencies regarding the elimination of racism and all forms of bias.
In closing, I will paraphrase our own Chief of Police who, at the beginning of the seminar he organized on Fair and Impartial policing, stated, “. . . if you’re not improving, you’re falling behind.” His words should be instructive to us as we continue working to eliminate all racism and bias from the provision and implementation of justice in this Great City. May God bless you and the City of Rockville.