Borough Assembly unanimously passes resolution supporting Black Lives Matter movement
On June 30th, the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly voted unanimously in favor of a resolution to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
After hearing public testimony both for and against the resolution, the assembly debated various amendments at length.
Two contentious amendments involved explicitly stating in the resolution that the assembly’s solidarity with the BLM movement did not extend to its specific organization, as this affiliation was a concern voiced by community members.
Community member Barbara Tyndall said, "I do not think that we need to be affiliated with Black Lives Matter. I'm not really happy with what I'm seeing nationwide."
One of these amendments passed 5-4.
Another passed amendment involved sending the resolution to authority figures around the state, including Fairbanks Mayor Jim Matherly, Fairbanks City Council, North Pole Mayor Michael M. Welch, North Pole City Council, state delegates from Interior Alaska, and Governor Mike Dunleavy.
The resolution’s sponsor, Christopher Quist, spoke to the purpose of the resolution. “This is less legislation and more affirmation,” he said. Quist added, “It is not intended in any way to divide people. Quite the opposite. It’s intended to bring us together around our common values.”
The resolution acknowledges the existence of systemic racism in society. It also condemns “excessive use of force and the unjustified killings by public safety officers in our community and beyond,” while standing “in solidarity with those calling for reform of policing.”
Assembly member Marna Sanford said, “It’s talking about fighting for equality. It’s talking about fighting for justice. It’s talking about calling for reforms.”