by Guy Page
The planned racial justice/public safety operational assessment of the Burlington Police Department has been placed in the hands of Tyeastia Green, the city’s Director of the Department of Racial Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging and a believer that virtually every aspect of American culture, past and present, is intertwined with racism.
This announcement comes just two days after Mayor Miro Weinberger said the study would be conducted by another city official. The decision to perform the assessment was made last summer, in the midst of civic unrest that began with the killing of George Floyd. Weinberger announced his decision to reinstate Green in this public mea culpa:
“I made a mistake and I am now sharing a plan to fix it.
“As Mayor, our community looks to me to lead with our City’s values, including sincerely championing racial justice in both words and actions.
“An operational and functional assessment of the Burlington Police Department has been planned since last summer, and it is an important document for the future of the City, for achieving racial justice in our law enforcement, and for maintaining public safety. My initial decision regarding management of the project would not have fully served these critical goals. This decision was wrong and reveals my own bias, and I must work transparently to address that. Specifically, I see now that my focusing with this decision on achieving “neutrality” in the way that the process was managed was wrong and reflected the wrong priorities.
“In not asking Director Tyeastia Green to manage this assessment, I belied the deep respect and appreciation that I have for her. One of my proudest moments in my nine years of serving as Mayor was appointing Tyeastia as the City’s first Director of the Department of Racial Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. I am grateful for her presence in our community and on my leadership team, and for the enormous positive impact she has had in her first year on the job.
“Today, I am announcing that, starting immediately, Tyeastia and the Racial Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Department will manage the operational and functional assessment of the Burlington Police Department. Tyeastia is extremely well qualified to manage this project, and further, after listening to more input over the last several days and having additional discussions with Tyeastia, I see clearly now that she is also the right person to do it. I spoke with Tyeastia last night about my desire to have her manage this project and am very happy she has agreed to do so.
“My initial decision is, again, one that I own, and I am working to reconcile and repair the harm that it caused. I am committed to doing that and bringing our entire community to a place where we can come together on policy for public safety and public health that serves and protects everyone.”
Tyeastia Green and the rubber band ball of racism
This morning on WVMT’s Morning Drive, a caller quoted statements by Green saying that capitalism and racism are inextricably linked. It’s fair to say that with Green, everything in America is linked to racism. Here’s a quote from her interview with the alumni magazine of the University of Minnesota, where she earned a Masters Degree in Public Affairs, with a specialty in racial justice:
“It is important to frame racism as what it is—a system, not an event. I believe the challenges of racism in all forms affect each community the same. Regardless of whether you live in the north or south, on either of the coasts or in the heartland, racism in its structural, institutional, and systemic form doesn’t change. Racism is in education, healthcare, income, wealth attainment, housing, childcare, banking, and on and on. It’s everywhere. It’s what we eat, drink, and breathe. It’s pervasive and normalized. When I think of the challenge of undoing systemic racism, I have the image of a ball of rubber bands. Once you think you’ve got the hang of unraveling it, you realize there’s so much going on underneath, and some of the rubber bands feel impossible to remove.”