Agendas and Minutes

Social Equity and Racial Justice Advisory Committee (View All)

Social Justice and Racial Justice Commission

Thursday, March 02, 2023

Social Equity and Racial Justice Commission
March 2, 2023, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Remote Meeting via Zoom
1. Call to order: 5:10
Attendance: Simon, Yamaguchi, Decker, Chacon, Gillis, DuQuenne (council liaison) Seltzer (staff liaison)
Absent: Santiago, Williams, Gillis left the meeting at 6:15 p.m.
2. Approval of Minutes of January 5, 2023
M/S Decker/Santiago, motion passed unanimously.
3. Public Input: None
4. Welcome and Introductions
Simon invited members and guests to introduce themselves.
5. Police Chief Tighe O’Meara

O’Meara answered several questions prepared by SERJ and sent to him in advance.  Some of his responses included the following.
  • He was asked how APD interacts with the high school.  APD partnered with and funded an initiative to have moderators on site who conducted listening sessions with high school students asking what kids want in terms of a relationship with the PD. Students responded they want to have a relationship with PD and they want PD to know them.  O’Meara met with the HS Principal who asked the ASD Superintendent and the School Board about having PD on campus.  The response was that they are hesitant to have PD officers on campus.  O’Meara will continue to work on this project.
  • Implicit bias training is included in the curriculum for all officers in Oregon.  APD officers have been including the training for about eight years.
  • O’Meara responded to a question about a 24/7 program called Cahoots in Eugene – Springfield run by a clinic called White Bird Clinic.  The clinic responds to requests by the local PD to aid a person in a mental health crisis.  Jackson County tried a similar program.  A trained person was assigned to APD for 40 hours per week. There were not enough mental health crises in Ashland to justify a 40 hour per week and so they expanded the person to Talent and Phoenix crisis response work who worked for a year with the department.
  • APD officers will participate in training with Common Ground Conversations.
  • O’Meara explained the challenges and complications of getting rid of guns that people voluntarily give up. APD does accept firearms that people want to get rid of.
6. Report/Update from members and liaisons
  • Simon reported that the Antisemitism Proclamation was read at the City Council meeting on February 7.  She will be meeting with the Medford Commission on Access, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on March 21 and encourage them to initiate a similar proclamation for Medford.
  • Simon reported that the sunrise project is progressing with its members and at this time SERJ is not involved.
  • Yamaguchi reported she is meeting with Joe Lessard next week on the “Ashland for Everyone” project.
  • Yamaguchi reported a good turnout at the Frist Friday art event at Catalyst by BASE.
  • Yamaguchi reported that the SERJ social Meeting will be on Saturday, May 6 at 4:30 pm at Gambrel Gallery.
7. Discussion about the treatment of BIPOC people at the YMCA.
Chacon reported experiencing bias incidents at the YMCA by a few members.  He reported the incidents to the manager and to the CEO and neither person was particularly supportive.  Chacon wonders what SERJ can do.
This will be discussed at future SERJ meetings.
8. Update from council liaison and staff liaison.
  • Seltzer reported that the mayor read a proclamation declaring February as Black History Month
  • Two employee training courses have been scheduled with Common Ground Conversations.
  • The city has selected a consultant in response to the RDP for an internal DEI Assessment.  The work will begin later in the summer.
  • SERJ supports the Oregon Legislative Action HB 2918 and HB2925 at the request of Rich Rhode of the City of Ashland Housing and Human Services Committee.
DuQuenne reported the Council is hosting a round table discussion with local businesses about economic impact in Ashland.
9.Wrap up and items for future agendas.
  • Members of the Planning Commission will attend the April SERJ meeting and speak about their work through the lens of social equity and racial justice.  Seltzer will send a few questions to them in advance of the meeting.
  • Simon asked how SERJ will participate in BASE Juneteenth.
  • SERJ is scheduled to give an update report to the City Council in June.
Meeting adjourned at 6:40 p.m.

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