Thursday, March 5, 2020

Councilor Melanie Hamblen's remarks on the Civil Discourse Pledge

Thanks to Councilor Hamblen for sharing the copy of her remarks made at the Town Council meeting March 4, 2020:
"It is obvious that there has been a gross mis-understanding about the civil discourse pledge and I would like to say a few words:

The pledge is not a personal attack on anyone one of us (believe me I know what one is) It is a statement that the council as a whole, no matter who is on it - rejects discrimination and bullying and is committed to supporting an inclusive community.
The pledge does not, in any way take anyone’s rights away. It does not stop the council for taking concerns from employees and citizens, it states that we will do so with respect for all involved.

The pledge is NOT, I repeat, Not a waste of time or efforts. It is a statement to the community, whom we serve, that we want everyone to be treated with respect and feel welcomed.

Do not believe that this has been brought up because of ONE incident.

If you think that life in Franklin is perfect for everyone living here, then you are refusing to even think about other people’s reality - the people that we all represent.

I am going to ask you to do something for me- set aside yourself for a moment and let’s walk in someone else’s shoes:

It’s a beautiful day, like yesterday, you are getting ready to go to the playground and have fun with your family, 

But you stop and think, what will I do if someone yet again yells “death to Muslims” at you.

Or your child comes home crying because his friends were laughing at him telling him at school that he is going to have to go back to Mexico, and he was BORN IN THIS COUNTRY!

Or maybe your child is called a “thing” to your face just because she has a learning disability.

Or you get spit at and have derogatory insults shouted at you, just because of the person you love.

Or you hesitate to go into your place of worship because you are afraid someone full of hate will hurt you and your family.

We are elected officials, we represent the town of Franklin 24/7 everywhere we go.

We represent everyone in this town and the fact that people are afraid and feel unsafe everyday is NOT OK.

It is not OK that our citizens are afraid to tell us how they feel, and afraid to live normal lives. This pledge can help people feel a little at ease. 

It is a reminder to try to be kind, that other people experience different things than we do. 

It reminds us to be the type of leader who will not sit idly by when people in our community feel unsafe.

This pledge will reassure our community that we stand with them and that we will protect them.

I could just bow to the pressure and give up and slide back into the community and hide, but there are people who cannot afford such comfort because of the color of their skin or who they love or where they worship and I will stand with them. And because it is the best thing to do for ALL of Franklin."

  • The resolution ended up passing by a 6-2-1 vote with Councilors Chandler, Hamblen, Pellegri, Dellorco, Mercer and Jones YES; Earls, Bissanti NO, and Kelly abstained.
My notes reported live during the meeting
Boy scouts from Troop 126 lead the overflow crowd at the Town Council meeting in the "Pledge of Allegiance"
Boy scouts from Troop 126 lead the overflow crowd at the Town Council meeting in the "Pledge of Allegiance"

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