Members of the Bainbridge Island Race Equity Task Force at a recent meeting talked about picking their own members rather than having the mayor do it.
“That flies in the face of what we want to do,” co-leader Brenda Fantroy-Johnson said, adding having one person pick is not equitable. “This is our committee.” The mayor has “no idea of the dynamics, no idea what to look for.”
The other co-leader, James Friday, said the group understood that it would choose its members, “Then all of a sudden the process changed.”
City Councilmember Rasham Nassar said normally the mayor appoints those recommended by city committee leaders.
“We don’t want that,” Friday said. “We want to be completely transparent.”
Fantroy-Johnson said at least one time that did not happen because the selection was at odds with a councilmember.
“That could be half our residents,” Fantroy-Johnson said with a smile.
She added there needs to be a real process, “Not a willy-nilly appointment” by the mayor.
Nassar assured them there are ways to work with the council. “We’ll look at the process through an equity and inclusion lens.”
Meanwhile, during the rest of the meeting, committee members were enthused by their progress.
“We’re learning with a few bumps along the way,” Fantroy-Johnson said. “We’re moving” where before we weren’t even thinking equity.
Friday said he was anxious to talk to some lawyers.“We need to know what it will take,” he said. “We don’t have the experience to get things passed” through government.
Friday mentioned he had hoped to get some type of community gathering together in a few weeks to drum up support for their effort. He especially wanted to get youth involved.“Change isn’t going to come” without them, he said.
A few members said with COVID-19 they don’t feel it’s time for that, yet.
“I’m willing to do it when it’s safe,” member Susan Wilmot said. “It’s still a pandemic. We’re going backwards.”
Friday responded, “I want you to feel safe.”
Member Savanna Rovelstad said when the event occurs there needs to be a handwashing station so the “public feels safe.” Friday said everyone will have to wear masks and respect social distancing.
Fantroy-Johnson said the committee should wait on those details until there’s more information about COVID.
“There might be a cure,” she said, adding she’s an “optimist.”