A gem sent out to Boulder city staff, from the City Manager. Some solid judgement here on her part.
The month of June has given us so many wonderful opportunities to lean into our values of equity and inclusion. From the commemoration of the official end of slavery in our country to celebrations of LGBTQ+ pride and events celebrating immigrant heritage, we’ve had a lot of positive moments.
But now, in the aftermath of historic rulings by the Supreme Court last week, our commitment to these values is being put to the test.
As a progressive woman, it likely comes as little surprise that I am most deeply impacted by the decision to overturn Roe v Wade. The message this sends – and the very real consequence for those who are not lucky enough to live in Colorado or other select states – is that more than half of Americans can no longer make decisions about their own bodies. This directly impacts not just women, but all who have the biological ability to carry children, including transgender and non-binary Americans, as well as men and families who will also face difficult decisions that affect their lives. As is often the case with regulations, the greatest inequity will be felt disproportionately by the most vulnerable and under-served in our country.
Furthermore, the decision, as written, calls into question very real concerns about what other freedoms could be altered, restricted or simply taken away without the safeguards of long-standing legal precedent. Very few rulings in our country’s history have left so many feeling unsafe and unsure of their place in America.
I am also concerned about the court’s finding, in a separate case, that there is a nearly irrefutable right for individuals to carry weapons in public. Unfortunately, I believe this decision makes it more likely that public shootings will continue, and that police will face that much more of a challenge in detecting potential risk to communities. For those of you who are wondering what, if any, impact this will have on the recent measures passed by our City Council, our City Attorney’s Office is still assessing.
So why am I telling you this? I believe in authentic leadership, and I choose to be both accountable to, and transparent about, my convictions.
I also share my reactions because I believe many of you may be experiencing similar feelings. I want you to know that I see you, and I understand your pain and concern. I encourage you to find safe spaces to express your feelings and seek out ways to put your passion toward making a positive impact. I support departments or work groups that wish to provide optional opportunities for colleagues to come together and share the impacts these national issues are having on them.
At the same time, I want to be clear that in any thriving workforce, there are certainly alternative perspectives. I welcome the viewpoints of my colleagues who see these rulings differently, who for religious, personal, or political reasons believe the court got it right on one or both these issues.
There are likely others who simply prefer not to have these types of discussions in the work environment. I see you, too, and respect that position. (emphasis mine)
As we prepare for the Fourth of July – a holiday focused on celebrating our freedom – there is no doubt this range of reactions will make for interesting, and sometimes challenging, conversations. As these topics, or any of the many other stressors we’ve experienced over the past few years, come up, I encourage you to treat your fellow employees with respect. As we know, respect is one of our core city values and part of what makes our organization such a great place to work. Listen actively. Empathize, when you can. Strive to find common ground. Recognize that we have a choice to model inclusive and meaningful civic discourse, which I personally believe is the only way we will find our way out of the divisiveness that currently defines our country.
I also encourage you, whatever your political perspective, to vote in upcoming elections. In our current polarized context, the ballot box is the single best way to ensure that your voice is heard. Don’t miss your chance to shape the future you want to see.