OLEAN, NY — Tuesday, the Common Council will consider a resolution affirming the city’s support for Black Lives Matter.
“Truthfully, the most significant change needs to come from the state level, but at city level, we can at least formally declare support for the cause,” Council President Paul Gonzalez, who is sponsoring the resolution, said.
The resolution also “condemns the systematic and structural racism that has afflicted black Americans for centuries” and affirms the city’s support for individuals who have peacefully protested in Olean in response to the killing of George Floyd.
Gonzalez said he is sponsoring the measure because the nationwide protests are having “a profound impact locally."
Olean's Lincoln Park was the site of two events: a Black Lives Matter rally on May 31 and a candlelight vigil on June 6. Individuals marched through the city on June 3. And during Friday's Juneteenth rally in Franchot Park, Tracy Mitrano, the Democratic challenger for the 23rd congressional district, was among the speakers, and items featuring the name of the African American Center for Cultural Development were on sale as a fundraiser for the local center.
“I attended the first few BLM gatherings in Olean and was moved by how passionate and peaceful the protesters were,” Gonzalez said. “It inspired me to want to do something, considering the position I’m fortunate to hold.”
Gonzalez said he is anticipating council support for the resolution.
“I had informed most of the council last week that this would be coming,” he said. “There was no negative feedback from any council member in attendance.”
Tuesday's council meeting will follow a meeting of the Committee of the Whole, which is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Olean Municipal Building, 101 E. State St.
Sign Up for E-News to get top stories delivered daily to your inbox.