Muncie City Council unanimously passed a resolution at its Monday meeting condemning racism in the City of Muncie.
Councilwoman Anitra Davis said it was important for the council to address racism in some way.
“I want people to know that racism wastes time and it prevents us from moving forward. It has no place here on council,” Davis said.
She also said there are a lot of language and barriers to contracts and economic development that can be covert.
“I just want us to make sure that we’re watching our decision making, that we’re checking with one another to make sure that we’re not accidentally doing or saying things to exclude others because it can happen,” Davis said. “We’re going to work together, recognize that there are problems and work through them together.”
During the public comments on the resolutions, Ari Hurwitz, Delaware County Council candidate, thanked the council for the resolution and recognized its importance.
“I hope it is only a first step to doing some real soul searching for structural change,” Hurwitz said. “Throughout the country we see everything from statements to Confederate statues falling and other things. I think while that’s all wonderful and maybe an indicator of a movement finally taking hold after over 400 years of massive structural racism and bigotry in this country, statues falling and statements are not going to end any of those systemic practices.”
Hurwitz said issues regarding structural racism are just as alive in Muncie and Delaware County as anywhere else. He said people watching the Muncie City Council meeting will be looking for “consistent and continuous structural change.”
In other business, the council also appointed new board members — one to the Muncie Indiana Transit System (MITS) board and two to the Muncie Animal Care and Services Commission.
Julie Mason was appointed to the MITS board in a 7-2 decision. Mason said she was born and raised in Muncie, has worked for the U.S Army for 26 years, is an Indiana University alumna and is the daughter of Muncie’s first African-American councilperson, James Albert Johnson. She said she would use the experience from working in the army and seeing different types of transportation in California and around the world in her position.
“You can tell how great a city is in how they move their people around,” Mason said, “If you can’t get people to their jobs and for them to get their food, clothing and those basic things they need, then we have a problem.”
For the Muncie Animal Care and Services Commission, the council re-appointed Dr. Michael Brown, a veterinarian, and newly appointed Mary Stilts, a Muncie citizen, in a 9-0 vote.
Stilts, who has lived in Muncie all her life, said she has been active in helping and supporting the Muncie animal shelter for a long time and can help with getting donations and volunteers to help out at the shelter.
“I think I could really do the city as well as that animal shelter, a lot of justice,” she said.
A city ordinance that was tabled from the last city council meeting was passed 9-0.
The ordinance gave additional appropriations to the parks department in the amount of $305,362. It was initially tabled so the parks department would have a chance to get quotes and take the proper steps to confirm the amount needed. The ordinance was first amended to change the amount needed to $299,693.
The appropriation will go towards giving trash trucks to the parks department. Carl Malone, president of the parks department, said the cleanup from 4th of July celebrations could’ve been done sooner with the help of the trucks.
“We had trash in nearly every neighborhood, had we had trucks out we could’ve gotten the trash out on Saturday or Sunday, prior to having to get it Monday morning,” he said.
Malone also said the trucks should be in service as early as Wednesday.
The ordinance to amend the city code regarding urban chickens and being able to keep them within city limits remained tabled so the ordinance could be rewritten following two public discussions on the ordinance in the Land and Traffic Committee.
The next city council meeting will take place Aug. 3 and Monday’s meeting can be viewed in full on the City of Muncie’s Facebook page.
Contact Jake Merkel with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jakemerkel4.