Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin Speaks on 'Black Lives Matter'

Yesterday evening, Cortland City Mayor Brian Tobin released a statement speaking on the Black Lives Matter movement and the painting of 'Black Lives Matter' at the intersection between Main St. and Court St.

Here is Mayor Tobin's statement:

Black Lives Matter

This past Monday, these 3 words were painted at the intersection of Main and Court streets in the City of Cortland.  A local member of the community brought the vision to the City Council and it was approved 8-0. A special thanks to the community members and artists who fully funded the project and donated their time and services.

Painting Black Lives Matter did two things; it sends the message that the City Council and I have been engaged in listening and learning about what is happening in Cortland to community members, friends, families and neighbors. It also helps to move to the forefront the conversation about race in our community.  Based upon the conversations I’ve had, the voicemails and emails I have received at city hall- we need to do more to make Cortland more equitable.  We work for all of the people.  That is why we will continue this work.

The Black Lives Matter message is intentional. Many of us have not seen the challenges that others are facing in our community today.  Saying, “All lives matter” in response takes away from the voices that are trying to be heard.  It is not about a national movement, it is not about raising people above others, it’s about recognizing what is happening here and now in our own community and creating a welcoming community for all.

As we look back on the weekend, where we celebrated the birth of our nation, we celebrated all that is good in our country.  But let us also look forward- to a Cortland that, in paraphrasing Martin Luther King Junior, allows everyone to be judged based upon their character, and not the color of their skin.  It may be uncomfortable for some of us to have this conversation, but it is necessary.  I believe council and myself have already demonstrated a commitment to this conversation.  Another quote suits where we are currently- change is inevitable, but growth is optional.