Mission formally approves racial justice, equity and inclusion statement

The city of Mission's statement asserts that Black Lives Matter, and is the first in a five-step action plan addressing racial inequity and social justices. Above, demonstrators rally at Shawnee City Hall on in June 2020. File photo.

The Mission City Council last week formally approved its statement and action plan for racial justice, equity and inclusion.

The approved statement builds upon Mayor Ron Appletoft and Chief Ben Hadley’s public statement issued shortly after the death of George Floyd. The statement condemns “the senseless and unnecessary murder of George Floyd,” states that Black Lives Matter, and recognizes the city is “not immune from implicit bias.”

“We sadly must acknowledge that systemic racism remains an entrenched problem across the United States, including, but by no means limited to, in policing,” the statement reads. “As local elected leaders, it is incumbent upon us to stand with those demanding accountability, equity and respect, and to recognize the humanity and dignity of every person.”

The statement also commits the governing body and the city to ongoing education and review of internal “policies, practices and sustained dialogue” about racial inequity and social justice.

The city council also approved a five-step action plan as briefly outlined below:

  • Step one included the joint statement.
  • Step two is an August city council conversation about the police department’s current policies, practices and experiences.
  • Step three is a review of processes, systems and structures within the city, county and state “to promote accountability and transparency in law enforcement,” according to city documents.
  • Step four is an October community forum to gather the public’s feelings about racial inequity throughout Mission.
  • Step five is ongoing implicit bias training and education for the governing body and city staff.

Mission first began its conversation around racial inequity at its June city council meeting. Councilmembers Sollie Flora and Hillary Parker-Thomas brought forward a resolution that drew criticism for lack of actionables and voices of people of color, and ultimately failed.

The June discussion was continued at the July 1 finance and administration committee meeting, at which point the statement and action plan were introduced. Both the statement and action plan were supported by the governing body at that time.

The city council unanimously approved both the statement and the action plan with no discussion. Councilmember Kristin Inman was absent.