March for Racial Justice

Protesters kneel for 8 minutes and 26 seconds in memory of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis held his knee on Floyd’s neck for that duration of time, during the March for Racial Justice, held on Wednesday, June 17. The march started at Veteran’s Park where Black members of the community first shared their experiences and its impact on their lives, and then looped around the downtown before coming back to the park.

By the end of 2020, all city staff could be required to take anti-bias training.

The Verona Common Council unanimously approved a resolution at its Monday, July 27, meeting “to Decrease the Effects of Institutionalized Racism,” which includes a section directing the Personnel committee to address training opportunities, policies and employee hiring practices in Verona.

A memo in the council’s packet states all staff will be required to complete the diversity, equity and inclusion training before the end of the year if the committee approves of the program after hearing feedback from the city’s wellness committee. It also says staff will review policies and bring recommendations back to the committee to ensure the city has a diverse workforce that is reflective of the community.

Alders had first discussed the resolution at the beginning of June with the title “Honoring the Life of George Floyd with our Actions,” but it was postponed and redrafted twice because some alders believed it did not have enough actionable items. Floyd’s death May 25, after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, sparked protests in cities across the country, some of which are ongoing.

If Personnel approves training with the Sun Prairie-based Step Up Equity Matters organization, city staff all will take three separate three-hour training sessions that focus on how individual and institutional bias are formed, how they affect the workplace and strategies that can be used to disrupt biases, according to the memo.

Other sections of the resolution include statements of sorrow, unity, opposition to violence and inclusiveness and a more direct statement that the council and staff be “deliberate and intentional” in engaging the community to abolish racism in the community through concrete actions.

Contact Mackenzie Krumme at mackenzie.krumme@wcinet.com.