On June 1st, a vigil for George Floyd was held at Zionsville Town Hall. This community-organized event brought together local leaders, clergy and hundreds of residents. What we heard that evening was a call to action – a desire to transform this moment in our country’s history into a turning point for justice, equity and healing. Since this event, our administration has focused internally to define steps the town can take to support diversity and inclusion and to facilitate a meaningful dialogue around social justice as a community.
Last month we established a board within the Zionsville Police Department to review internal policies regarding use of force. The board will consist of three representatives from the department and two civilian members. Policies and training opportunities are being carefully examined by this board. Use of force actions taken by police officers will be reviewed by the board to ensure compliance with department policies and applicable law. The board will submit its findings to the Chief of Police along with recommendations for policy changes, training or other improvements. Also, department and Town leadership are actively implementing plans to recruit qualified minority candidates for current and future opening within the police department to better reflect our community makeup. Furthermore, we are organizing a series of community conversations related to implicit bias, community relations, racism, policing and justice. This effort is a response to a collective call for action to help our community become more inclusive and equitable towards all people. We have asked Dr. Robinson-Armstrong, a Zionsville resident and former vice president for intercultural affairs and professor at Loyola Marymount University, to facilitate these conversations in the coming weeks. An invitation and survey will be sent to residents via social media and our Town newsletter with registration details. We expect these events to launch in late July or August.
Rather than merely issuing a statement, we want to commit to action. We are ready to learn, grow and change. We are ready to feel uncomfortable and uncertain. We are ready to move forward with each of you towards a more authentic way of engaging, supporting and relating to one another. And through that process, we believe we can identify the structures that need to be updated or reinvented. Together, we can grow in both our individual and our collective awareness and understanding of the nature and impact of racism. Most importantly, we can work together to design and implement a plan to bring about the change we need while holding ourselves accountable. We hope you’ll consider joining us in this effort.