It's time for Mayor Drinkwine to engage
Estacada Mayor Sean Drinkwine made a big mistake on June 22 when he dashed off — by his own admission — a hastily-worded post on social media that inaccurately described the Black Lives Matter vigils in downtown Estacada.
"As your mayor of Estacada, I would not and have not condoned these BLM Vigils in our community," he wrote. "All city staff and I are working tirelessly to shut these Vigils down."
By now, you've probably heard that Drinkwine has apologized — repeatedly — for his insensitivity, and added a confession regarding his writing skills, saying his intended message of supporting peaceful demonstrations was lost in his clumsy ability to string words together.
Those two sentences actually seem fairly well composed, but let's give the mayor the benefit of the doubt and accept that this was all just a horrible mistake.
And because we believe the mayor is honestly supportive of the peaceful protesters, then we again are mystified that he has not taken the opportunity to spend a moment's time with the people who gather every Saturday in his community with a shared passion for social justice.
In all fairness, it's understandable that Drinkwine didn't attend the march held Friday, June 26, which attracted participants from outside his community. Couple that with the fact that Drinkwine has faced a social-media backlash, and it's easy to see why he would give that gathering a wide berth.
But peaceful demonstrations are nothing new in his community. For at least a decade, a group has gathered to demonstrate for peace, though the purpose has morphed in recent months. Why hasn't the mayor seized the opportunity to connect with these activists who are his constituents, as much as anyone else in his community?
By staying away from the peaceful demonstrations, Drinkwine remains silent on the topic of systemic racism. In the eyes and ears of the protesters in his community, Drinkwine perpetuates the notion that words of apology — no matter how sincere — are cheap, and that inaction speaks louder than words.
All Drinkwine needs to do is show up and listen.
The people who are marching and waving posters in support of Black Lives Matter in Estacada and Sandy are following the law, working in tandem with law enforcement, and are delivering a message of intense importance.
There isn't time to idly watch from a safe distance. This is a time for choosing which side of history you want to be on, and using your words and actions to make a difference.
Mr. Mayor, we believe you. You made a mistake. You are forgiven. Now, it's time to engage. There are demonstrations for peace, social justice and Black Lives Matter from 11 a.m. til noon every Saturday in Estacada. These events are peaceful. And these are your constituents. Here's you chance. Do something with it.
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