The following statement was read aloud by Mayor Nancy McFarlane at the start of the July 19, 2016 City Council afternoon session.
Before we get started today, I want to take a moment to discuss recent events that are weighing heavily on my mind and I believe the minds of most others not only in our community but the nation. The events of the past few weeks — most notably in Minneapolis, Dallas, and Baton Rouge — have left us all shaken and questioning what is happening to us as a community and a country.
First and foremost, our hearts and minds are with the victims of these tragedies and their families and friends during this very difficult time.
Here in Raleigh, we have a diverse community that when faced with adversity in the past, have worked together to make our community and city stronger. We work to find common bonds but as we see in other areas of the country, we also struggle with issues of trust and understanding within the community.
We have been working hard together to improve relationships and while we’ve made progress we still have work to do.
Building healthy and safe communities is the enduring goal of government; this is an on-going process that requires constant nurturing and persistence. To that point, each of us has a role to play in building and maintaining a Raleigh that is healthy and safe for everyone.
The City of Raleigh is preparing for a “Community Dialogue” that will help to bring together the many voices and talents in our community by generating ideas, exploring common grounds, and building relationships across the lines that help separate us as a community. The Community Dialogue will be a series of conversations aided by a professional facilitator who is a trained listener and can help inspire and advance conversation while remaining neutral.
The Dialogue will take place throughout the city over the course of the next several months and will include informational sessions focused on bringing about positive change. We will announce the details for the first of the community conversations in the coming weeks.
As I’ve said in the past, we are more alike than we are different, and while I acknowledge that these conversations may prove difficult and at times uncomfortable, I strongly believe that by working together and having an open, honest dialogue we will be building a safer, stronger Raleigh.
Our thanks to Deputy City Clerk Leslie H. Eldredge, CMC for sending over the PDF of this speech. We translated it to regular text and may have added in a comma or two.