Canby Herald letter to the editor from city councilr Tracie Heidt

Recent meeting was councilor's 'favorite'

To the editor:

Our last city council meeting was my favorite of my entire term so far. There were a diverse mixture of people who came to testify, people of various ages and ethnicities, people who do not usually come. There were even kids who stayed until 8:30 pm to be heard. But most of all it was heartfelt.

Five adults, three of them Latino, spoke about the experience of being a minority right now. They told their stories and eloquently asked the council, or even "begged," as Jesus Navarro humbly put it, to make a public statement showing or reassuring that we are a welcoming city, even when some of the country is hostile to those with brown skin. We do plan to make that public statement in January.

Five children from Lee Elementary asked us to designate the old city hall as a local historic landmark and offered thoughtful reasons about why this was important. Their parents and principal, Ms. Swizer, and every adult in the room was impressed by the passion and concern these young people had for their city. And to the children's delight, we approved this designation.

If we had more meetings that struck an emotional chord with people, our city would feel more unified and people would feel like their voices matter here. They do. Let's become that kind of community in 2017.

I feel a lot more connected to the Latino community than I did two years ago when I took office. It was a goal of mine to reach out to our Latino people because I recognized that they were underrepresented, and although it has taken me many months of gradual relationship building, I am finally realizing my goal. I don't speak Spanish, and that was an obstacle for me, but I figure an open heart can remedy that. And it all starts with a smile.

Tracie Heidt

Canby City Council

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