A Brief Message from the Mayor:
I watch and listen in horror as the events of the past few days have shattered a reliable sense of who we are as Americans; even who we are as people.
We are not immune to the tragedies that unfold around us. Traffic stops happen every day in Conway. Criminal activity happens every day in Conway. Our police respond. Two Conway police officers and two County Sheriff’s Deputies have been deliberately killed by gun fire in years past. Conway does not have an absolutely pristine history in race relations. We too have all the ingredients for tragedy.
Those cities could be our city.
We don’t know what tomorrow’s headlines will be. Two weeks ago who could have guessed those headlines would include Baton Rouge, Louisiana, St. Anthony, Minnesota, and Dallas, Texas? For these horrific reasons?
We as individuals have been listening and watching. We have been talking quietly among ourselves, probably in our safe zones. We need to talk together. All of us. As a Community.
Conway needs a public dialog. My office will be working to pull such a community meeting together. What that looks like I don’t yet know. I will work with community leaders from across the city to chart a path forward for our community writ as broadly as we can.
A time for gathering will come soon.
In the interim, please consider this speech by Robert F Kennedy. It was given on April 4, 1968 in Indianapolis, IN – the day Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis. Kennedy spoke to an African-American crowd in the middle of the African-American ghetto. It was supposed to be a campaign event, but Kennedy ask for people to put their signs down. Even though he was told he couldn’t be protected in the event of a riot, it was Robert Kennedy who told the crowd that Dr. King had been shot and killed.
The speech lasted less than five minutes. It will be short to read.
On the night of that speech over 100 major American cities experienced riots as news of the assassination became known. 35 people died and over 2,500 were injured. 70,000 national guardsmen were called out to restore order.
Indianapolis was not among those cities.
As we carefully consider our conversation as a Community, the spirit of which Kennedy spoke is certainly still true today.