Cortland Common Council met last night, where conversations continued on race and diversity in the community.
Last week, a group of volunteer artists painted the words “Black Lives Matter” at the intersection of Main and Court streets in the City of Cortland.
The idea came from – and was paid for by – a local community member who then got unanimous Council approval.
Mayor Brian Tobin last night emphasized the importance of supporting the movement locally.
“Painting Black Lives Matter did two things: It sends the message that the City Council and I have been engaged in listening and learning about what is happening in Cortland to community members, friends, families and neighbors. It also helps to move to the forefront the conversation about race in our community,” said Mayor Tobin. “Based upon the conversations I’ve had, the voicemails and emails I have received at city hall- we need to do more to make Cortland more equitable.”
Part of the effort moving forward will include the creation of a new special committee focused on improving neighbor relations.
Tobin says the group will made made up of both council members and local residents, with the goal of creating a consistent medium for healthy dialogue to ensue around race, diversity and other issues in the community.
Over recent weeks, the city has worked side-by-side with the local Black Lives Matter group with organizing public demonstrations and the painting of the aforementioned mural on Main Street.
“We work for all of the people,” Tobin added. “Many of us have not seen the challenges that others are facing in our community today. It is not about a national movement, it is not about raising people above others, it’s about recognizing what is happening here and now in our own community and creating a welcoming community for all.”
More details are expected soon regarding potential committee appointments and how residents can get involved.