Anything that can be said in this moment can feel blatantly inadequate and even remiss; however, remaining silent would be more negligent. Now is the time for us to address our own role in racism (however unintentional), exclusion, and inequity. The Downtown Boulder Partnership stands with individuals and organizations that are demanding equality and justice in cities - downtown districts in particular - across the world.
Prior to COVID-19, the Downtown Boulder Partnership staff, boards, and our community partners began conversations about interconnected issues such as inclusivity, representation, race, gender, socioeconomic status, diversity, and equity, looking at how these issues are at play within our downtown district. In the last two weeks, those conversations have taken on an increased focus and urgency. These conversations are difficult. They can feel vulnerable and paralyzing for any organization. Over the past month, the continued violent abuse of power with murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, as well as the senseless killing of Ahmaud Arbery and countless Black citizens throughout the nation, along with the response of Americans have made it unquestionably clear that these conversations must now move immediately to that of actions.
Words do not matter if actions are not aligned. The Downtown Boulder Partnership is moving forward with a number of initiatives, both internally and externally focused to strengthen our own response to inequity, to increase our value as a community ally, and to understand and correct actions that unintentionally or not lead to an exclusionary environment.
Our internal actions will be directed by our entire staff. We will listen to everyone who wants to talk to us. We commit to allocating resources, including time, so that we can do the important work as a group, and as individuals. Our internal work will include increased race and bias education for our staff and board members from professional equity educators.
For our external initiatives, we will be looking to the broader community to provide us with guidance and to hold us accountable. This week, after months of planning, we are launching a Community Advisory Board, seeking diverse voices and representation. Downtown Boulder, like any downtown, cannot claim success unless everyone has an opportunity to share in that success.
We cannot merely invite those who are not represented to participate. We must be persistent in learning what barriers keep people and communities from participating, whether it is logistic barriers of transportation, time and language, or deeper cultural barriers of fear, poverty, intimidation or even violence and abusive practices. We must work to remove barriers of race, religion, gender, economic status, disabilities, and sexual orientation until everyone has a voice.
We have a long way to go and so much to learn. We all must start from where we are, and we all must start now.