“The killing of George Floyd exposed painful wounds of historic racial injustices in our nation. We of course can’t control what a jury of 12 people in Minneapolis will decide, but we can decide what we do in Lakewood. And I urge our residents to join in strengthening our resolve to peacefully work as a community for all the positive goals of Lakewood’s new Action Plan on Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion,” said Mayor Jeff Wood.
“I also want to assure Lakewood residents that your city, in conjunction with the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station, has been making preparations to address any potential unrest that may occur as a result of the verdict. We are not aware of any specific or credible threat affecting Lakewood at this time, but we are in constant contact with our public safety partners and are prepared to do what is necessary and appropriate to protect our city,” said Wood.
“Lakewood’s Action Plan on Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion was developed over the past year with the input of hundreds of Lakewood residents and over a dozen religious congregations and faith leaders. Today, we are committed more than ever to moving ahead on that Action Plan to build on all the good in Lakewood and make our community the safest, most welcoming place it can be, for everyone,” said Wood.
“Lakewood has demonstrated their commitment to good work on racial equity issues as part of its Community Dialogue over the past year,” said Reverend Dr. Candace Cole-Kelly of Acts Community Bible Church in Lakewood. Cole-Kelly (shown in photo in upper right) is a founding member of the city’s Interfaith Council, which joined the broader Lakewood community in developing the city’s racial equity Action Plan. “The city is dedicated to doing even more work, and I’m proud to be part of that effort and celebrate that so many Lakewood residents have joined in. I am convinced that our collaborative efforts will produce the kind of change that our world needs today.
“I urge every Lakewood resident to use this special moment in history as a profound opportunity to recommit themselves to taking strong but peaceful and loving actions towards making our communities and our nation better, more just places, free from racial discrimination and bigotry. Even in the midst of uncertainties, let us stay the course of caring one for another, as we shine the light of love toward all humanity,” said Cole-Kelly.
Lakewood’s 11-point Action Plan on Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion was adopted by the Lakewood City Council on Jan. 26, 2021 and includes steps to:
- Celebrate Lakewood’s diversity (the city has been named one of California’s most diversifying communities, with a racial diversity that that closely mirrors the broader diversity of Los Angeles County).
- Promote good community relations between people of all cultures and backgrounds in Lakewood. The Action Plan includes the creation of a Multicultural Festival each year and smaller, park-level events where neighbors can meet and get to know each other.
- Build on the city’s tradition of lots of positive interactions and community meetings with Lakewood Sheriff’s personnel. The city has already held three Zoom community meetings with Sheriff’s and public safety personnel in 2021, with plans for an average of one additional meeting per month throughout the year.
- Separately, the city is also undertaking a community review of the Use of Force Policy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Dozens of residents have submitted comments and suggestions. The city is currently reviewing those, seeking further information from the Sheriff’s Department, with plans to bring the information back to residents for a final review in the near future before sending final feedback to the Sheriff’s Department.
“In addition,” said Wood, “the city will be holding a Quarterly Roundtable Discussion on Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion on Saturday, April 24. Lakewood residents can register here by 3 p.m. on April 21 to participate in the Zoom meeting. I encourage every Lakewood resident who is interested in these important issues to listen in and take part. You’ll hear an update on our Action Plan and have the opportunity to ask questions and take part in our ongoing Community Dialogue.”