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Page last updated on September 7, 2021 at 1:33 pm

Hi, this is mayor John Hamilton. It's Monday, June 8th. Just wanted to give my weekly update. Thanks for all who pay attention to this. I really want to start with the enormous event that happened last Friday, just three days ago in our community, the largest protest rally march that I'm aware of, at least in our anywhere recent history. Thousands of people met on Friday, starting at Dunn Meadow, and then going down Seventh Street, Sixth Street down to the courthouse square and had rallies at both locations. Thousands of people standing up, walking, letting their voices be heard, calling for improvements in our community and our country and our governments in our households and all in between to do better with regard to the racism that we have lived with for far too long and still live with in our country and our community, including in particular, of course, related to police violence and vigilante violence that we've seen erupt lately, but we know is not new.

It was just a powerful event. Don and I were there on the outskirts. We, I will say we're continuing to physical distance and it was a powerful gathering of people that I hope you got to experience either directly or indirectly to feel the passion and the interest in the activism and the commitment to each other. It had a little COVID angle to it, in that almost everybody that I saw was wearing masks. And we thank the organizers who did a great job helping to promote that, as well as all the people who attended, trying to be careful with masks. It did not have a lot of physical distancing in the center of the event. And we're of course, attentive to that and hopeful that nothing untoward will come out of that. But that march did remind us of the importance of continuing to do those things that help protect each of us from the other and infection.

More deeply though, I think I want to just note the march and its motivations and its activism really ask us to focus on the reform and the change and the improvements that we need to continue to be committed to here as a community. And I am committed to that. I know most of you are. It's not easy, as we look at how to reform and review so much of what we do from direct in the public safety sphere to a wider issues of budget priorities. Even beyond the government, to our overall community, the institutions in our community, to the culture that we live in to the households that we all are part of, I think it's a challenge to all of us to respond appropriately. There will be lots of dialogue about that going forward, as there should be. We have a lot of work to do, a lot of hard conversations at times, but really important work.

We will be doing that in the public safety sphere in our community, continuing to do the reviews that we've been doing to try to figure out how do we get better at this? How do we unearth challenges, approaches reflect our values in our priorities, in the budgets and all those. And there will be different views about that, but that's a very, very good thing to go through. And I appreciate the energy that we will all be bringing to that coming forward.

We're going into the 2021 budget cycle. We're dealing with real economic challenges. We're dealing with racial challenges. We're dealing with climate challenges. We're dealing with health challenges, all of which come together as we think about our priorities as a community. We are in a marathon on the health work that started with a sprint. We are in marathons and may need sprints on some of these other factors as well.

A lot of those discussions are going to be happening in the weeks ahead, as the city looks at recovery plans, as the city looks at next year's budget, as we look at these challenges and making sure we're reviewing everything we do. I look forward to doing that with you. This community showed its character on Friday. Its character of commitment to justice. Its character of caring for each other. Its commitment to racial justice and its commitment to nonviolence. Its commitment to action. Those are all good things, reflecting our community's strengths, while not trying to diminish our challenges and weaknesses. And I really look forward to working with you on that together.

Again, it was an exceptional, extraordinary, important day on Friday, and we have work to do ahead of us. Thank you all for all you do for Bloomington. And I'll be happy to talk about this more, if you want to reach out in the many ways you can to me or to each other, and let's keep taking care of each other and taking care of Bloomington. Thank you.