The Saugerties town board has gone on record as opposing racial and gender bias, and has asked all residents to do the same. “We make the pledge to only be involved in projects cleared of all color and gender bias, and will work to correct past actions that have had a negative impact on those of color,” the resolution states. Saugerties residents are asked “to join in treating each other with respect and work together in these trying times to overcome all expressions of hate and bigotry.”
The resolution was padded unanimously.
While some in the community feel that racial equality is no longer an issue, it was still an issue, Ivino said, and that was why he was bringing this motion forward.
Councilman John Schoonmaker, who had been to Washington the previous weekend at a march for criminal justice reform and racial equality, said the event had been inspiring, and the board’s resolution was needed. Schoonmaker noted that a group in Saugerties rallies every day to remind the public that the country still has a long way to reach real racial equality. He said the local police force could serve as an example for other police forces in the area of sensitivity to racial and economic issues.
Supervisor Fred Costello agreed. “The fight to make our country more perfect and more equal is certainly not over,” he said, “and we understand that we have to do better and see it through.” Costello praised the Saugerties police, “We are proud of the efforts that they have made,” he said. “Our department takes these issues very seriously, and they would not tolerate some of the things that are happening across the country.”
Costello praised Schoonmaker and Michael Ivino for the resolution. Councilwoman Leeanne Thornton said her four-year-old granddaughter, like other children her age, “do not see color.” As a teacher, Thornton has tried to instill that value in the children she has taught, she said.