Concern: Working towards increased social justice is what public officials are elected to do. It is their job. The true definition of social justice is to organize with others to meet the needs of the entire community, equitably. Everyone deserves equal economic, political, and social rights and opportunities. Petaluma is currently falling short.
Why a Solution Isn’t Easy: Inequalities are systemic in our society. And for too long the decisions of this City have been made not based on what is the best for all Petalumans. Instead, the City Council has been inattentive to the needs of many. When the Council votes to move affordable housing from the core of downtown to the edge of the urban growth boundary where there are few transportation options other than cars, they’re not doing what’s best for all Petalumans.
Steps toward a Solution
Everything the City does must be viewed from a lens of social justice, considering every decision through the perspective of “Does this fairly meet the needs of everyone in our community?”
The Council must start with looking at what voices they’re listening to. As our community has changed, have they adjusted to whom they listen? Do they see how decisions impact different groups? Do we as Petalumans celebrate the broad cultural fabric that is our city? Do Petalumans advocate for finding ways to make life safer and healthier for our marginalized communities and for our farm workers?
The City Council and Chief Savano recently made a great first step by supporting NBOP’s efforts to form listening circles about police in Petaluma. Now the Council and all Petalumans must fully grasp their upcoming report and collaborate on how to move their ideas forward. But this needs to continue beyond this moment. I will encourage that the City Council retains this focus and continues to listen and learn.
Black Lives Matter in particular right now, because all lives do not yet matter in this country. I will stand firmly with BLM, with our LGBTQ+ communities, and with the broader BIPOC community and will use the platform to educate others as to why they need to stand up with me.
Lastly, I will be constantly aware of the interaction of social justice with all three of my key platform planks: Housing, Transportation, and Economic Vitality.