OLEAN, NY — The city will conduct a series of town hall meetings to address concerns that were voiced during discussion of a Black Lives Matter resolution that the Common Council approved Tuesday.

“As I sat through the meeting, it became apparent that there is a problem in our community, and we must correct it as quickly as possible,” Mayor William J. Aiello said. “The town hall forum will give us a chance to define and get to the root of the problem and will allow us to work together to devise a strategy to rectify the issues that are causing disruption in our community.”

The town hall meetings are scheduled for Tuesday June 30, Thursday, July 9, and Thursday, July 16. They will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m.at the John Ash Community Center, 112 N. Barry St.

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“Because we are still fighting the COVID-19 virus, we will have to work with the restrictions of social distancing and group sizes of 25 or 50 when Phase IV is instituted,” Aiello said.

Individuals who wish to attend can be make reservations by calling the mayor’s office at 716-376-5615. If necessary, more sessions will be added.

“This is an important time in Olean’s history, and I am looking forward to working with our residents to solve the problems that confront us,” Aiello said.

The resolution approved by the council affirmed the city’s support for Black Lives Matter, condemned “the systematic and structural racism that has afflicted black Americans for centuries,” and affirmed the city’s support for individuals who have peacefully protested in Olean in response to the killing of George Floyd. The council voted 5-2 to approve the measure.

“Olean is a great city; its long history is one of tolerance and acceptance,” Aiello said. “From Olean’s very beginning, our city leaders were abolitionists and helped slaves find their way to freedom along the Underground Railroad. Throughout Olean’s history people from all nations, of all races and creeds were welcomed into our community.  We should all be very proud of our heritage and work together to continue this fine tradition of good will and compassion."

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