The City of Rochester acknowledged that they have more work to do to create an inclusive community and outlined areas of improvement in a letter released to residents. Here is the full letter from the City:

While recognizing there is no one shared experience of the last week across our nation, state, or community, it is clear to see this is a very painful time for many in our city. In order to stand with our entire community, we must acknowledge the pain, both lingering and fresh, being laid bare in the greater exposure in these last several days of the fractures caused by racial inequalities across our country.

There are no easy answers for what this should look like, nor is everyone likely to agree with any particular act or direction. What is known is that George Floyd lost his life as a result of the actions and inactions of people who were entrusted with the role of public servant. The City of Rochester is an organization comprised of public servants and we recognize the damaging effect these actions have on public trust.

We acknowledge the pain this broken trust causes for members of our community and know that for many this is not the first time that trust has been severed. Such an egregious act, even not within our city, still activates memories of experiences members of our community have had themselves, in other places and within our boundaries as well.

The City of Rochester has more work to do to ensure that our community is open, welcoming, and inclusive for everyone. We are striving to live out our professed values as a compassionate community and acknowledge the lived experiences and pain being shared right now by many black members of our community in particular.

We see you. We hear you. We support you.

As an organization and as part of the community, the City of Rochester is committed to standing with our full community and charting a path forward together. We realize this is not the time to lay issues of racial inequality at the feet of people of color to solve. Instead, we commit as an organization to listen, to learn, and to build trust across our shared city, with a concurrent commitment to action.

To that end, the City has been undertaking efforts to acknowledge and address inequality in Rochester, including committing to social equity as a foundational principle. Although some efforts have been underway in the City, we realize we have only just started the work that needs to be done. Our promise to the community includes committing to:

  • Address racial inequality in local government through a commitment at all levels of the organization.
  • Update all city policies, practices and procedures through an equity lens.
  • Create a better system for effective, responsive, and culturally sensitive engagement.

In the immediate term, we hope this commitment is evidenced in our day-to-day actions. On Thursday, June 4, the City will join the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Civic Center as well as others across Rochester and the state in illuminating City Hall in yellow, representative of hope in honor of George Floyd’s life. Mayor Kim Norton has also ordered that the City flag be flown at half-mast in solidarity and grief. While symbolic, these actions are intended as a signal of our ongoing commitment.

Meanwhile, another community march is planned for this Sunday. Organizers of Rochester United: March Against Injustice encourage everyone of all ages to join this peaceful protest. The Facebook Event Page says people will meet at the Silver Lake Park at 3:00 PM on Sunday before marching to the Olmsted County Government Center.

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