Ask Mayor Hamilton to take a stand against white supremacy
**update as of January 4 @ 12 PM: 296 signatures**
December 30, 2019
Dear Mayor Hamilton,
We are a coalition of concerned residents in Bloomington urging you to take direct action on the issue of white supremacy in our town; we are reaching out in light of the upcoming vote January 9 about whether the City should retain the Farmers Market. The past months have demonstrated that Bloomington has a serious problem with entrenched, influential, and growing white nationalist networks, and the City needs to take immediate action.
We understand that you cannot single handedly defeat white nationalism. However, we challenge the Mayor’s office to model the kind of responsible, proactive response to white nationalism that is needed both locally and nationally. We urge you to take the lead on changing the culture of indifference, if not outright malice, toward marginalized groups by taking stock of the past and responding creatively to these threats to the community. We’d like to think of Bloomington as a progressive town. We need you to govern in a progressive way.
The casual indifference toward marginalized groups among many local elected officials is distressing. We do not believe that City officials are villains, but we do think you are all caught up in a culture that normalizes cruelty and indifference. In that way, you are regular people. We need you to be better than that. We need you to be outstanding, trailblazing humanitarians. We need you to want to do the right thing at any cost. If you can’t rise above the moral status quo, you can’t govern in a way that’s consistent with our values.
Here are our requests:
The white supremacist vendor is removed from the market. We have no preference as to whether the market remain public or private as long as the white supremacist vendor is removed. If public, the vendor should be removed for causing a disturbance in the market by staging a white supremacist recruitment campaign there. Apply restrictions to them the way you used them against our free speech rights. If private, we’ll defer to vendors’ knowledge about how to frame the rules that would exclude active members of white nationalist groups.
If the market is to remain public, you should not further restrict free speech there through regulations on signage or protest. The Parks and Recreation Department already has a set of rules regulating removal or suspension from Parks and Recs properties, which do not contain First Amendment restrictions and which also do not threaten citizens with arrest for exercising their First Amendment rights. These rules are proper and supersede the ad hoc “rules” made up, effective earlier this year. So the City should not continue to try to fit a square peg in a round hole by reworking their new “rules” for market behavior; rather, they should stick with rules already in existence, which provide for due process and also provide for freedom of expression.
If the market remains public, the City must commit to continuing to explore ways to make the market more inclusive and accessible to marginalized folks.
We want the establishment of a commission to investigate ways to prevent the future incursion of local government on the right to free assembly. This committee will look for ways that local government could abuse or infringe on the right to boycott or protest and will come up with solutions to closing those loopholes.
We want a resolution, signed by the mayor and city council, against white supremacy. No Space for Hate has already circulated a sample from Boise, Idaho, where such a resolution was successfully and unanimously passed. We are happy to share it again.
We are imploring you not as a politician, but as a human being, to do the right thing. Set aside your discourse of powerlessness, and do not allow yourself to be another name history forgotten because you missed your chance. Don’t you want to be remembered as the mayor who took a stand against white supremacy?
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