As city leaders and staff, we want to recognize the grief, fear and anger that many residents in Wyoming—but especially our citizens of color—are feeling in the wake of the senseless, tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery and many, many other black Americans. Many of us cannot pretend to know what it feels like to be discriminated against because of the color of our skin, but we see the hate and the ignorance and we want to stand up against it.

In the past few days, some of us have had conversations with community members about how to create real change against racial oppression at a local level. Some residents of color have asked not to have a big community forum right away but rather smaller meaningful conversations. We want to respect that, and so have committed staff, our police, and city council to reading groups to raise all of our knowledge of historical racism in this country.

Following the school district’s lead, we want to create a task force around equity in our own community, and learn where the city can improve. We are willing to take a hard look together at rates of who gets pulled over in our city, at the ways we advertise and ultimately hire staff, at so many factors residents are asking about, so that those of us who work for you, our residents, better reflect our city’s diversity of experience.

Some of you have brought your concerns to us in the past and, while we felt we listened, we acknowledge that perhaps we didn’t always hear you. We want to thank you for your past engagement, and if you felt discouraged or have withdrawn, we offer a sincere apology. More than ever, we need everyone to come together as a one community. If you feel up to sharing, we need your ideas, experiences, and recommendations. We need your help to do this right, because doing it together is the only way we can have meaningful change.

This is not comprehensive, but it’s a snapshot of where we are today. We hope to provide many opportunities for citizens to engage actively and authentically on these issues that affect communities of color, and ultimately the quality of all our lives. Something productive and healing must come from this awful moment, which has traumatized so many in our city.

Wyoming is our home. All of us deserve to feel safe and whole in our home.