Langley directs funds toward its initiative against systemic racism

The Langley City Council has taken its next step towards promoting racial justice with the passing of a budget ordinance that directs funds toward the cause.

During its July 6 meeting, the council unanimously passed a resolution with the intent to dismantle systemic racism in the community. The resolution aims to support Black, Indigenous and People of Color, people with mental illness, people with disabilities and people who identify as LGBTQ+.

As part of the resolution, an advisory group of South Whidbey citizens and Langley city officials is in the process of being formed.

Another part of the resolution calls for educational workshops and training for the council, city staff, volunteers and other interested residents.

During a council meeting earlier this month, Councilmember Craig Cyr proposed drawing funds from the city’s police budget to fund the workshop. He said $13,600 would be needed for the workshops — $8,000 for training, $3,000 for consulting and $2,600 for advertising.

However, Langley Finance Director and City Clerk Monica Felici told Cyr that money can’t be transferred from the police vehicle reserve, as he was proposing, because it is dedicated funds.

Instead, with Felici’s guidance, the council decided the funds for the workshops should come from the city’s general fund.

During the most recent council meeting Monday, Aug. 17, a public hearing was held for the budget amendment.

Several citizens voiced satisfaction with the council’s plan to allocate the $13,600 toward the anti-racist workshops.

“You guys have proven yourselves to be a city council of action, which I really greatly appreciate,” Langley citizen Kenesha Lewin said.

“Please take the next steps towards the commitment you’ve made.”

Madelaine Pinkerton, also of Langley, agreed.

“I see a lot of people whose hearts are in the right places, and I think that this is, at the very least, the very first step that we can take,” she said.

“I just want to encourage people to think about revolutionary ideas as well,” Pinkerton said.

The budget amendment passed its second and final reading with a 5-0 vote.

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