August 2, 2021

UPDATED: Lyme Selectmen Approve Equality Resolution

LYME — Latest Comment Posted 7/16: UPDATED 7/12, 11:30pm, with Lyme Selectman’s comments (in red): According to the published minutes of the Lyme Board of Selectmen’s (BOS) meeting held Tuesday, July 6, the board approved a motion to adopt, “a Resolution supporting equality.”

The Lyme Sustainability Committee had proposed adoption of the Resolution, “both for its affirmative value along with the points awarded for such a resolution adoption as the committee moves forward to gaining state recognition as a Sustainable Community.”

Selectman John Kiker (D) proposed the motion and Selectman Parker Lord (R) seconded it.

Asked by email how he felt about the Lyme BOS approving the Resolution, Selectman Kiker responded, “The resolution is a public reaffirmation of the Town’s longstanding policies and values, which moves us closer to our goal of becoming a SustainableCT community.”

He continued, “Lyme has long had policies in place prohibiting discrimination of any kind, and strives to live up to the promise of those policies,” concluding, “Lyme is a welcoming, inclusive community that believes in the founding American principle that all people are created equal.”

The following is the full text of the Resolution that was passed:

RESOLUTION SUPPORTING EQUALITY FOR ALL 

WHEREAS, racism and racial prejudice have been a part of our nations long history; and 

WHEREAS, racism causes persistent discrimination and disparate outcomes in many areas of life, including housing, education, employment, health status and criminal justice; and 

WHEREAS, our nation was founded on the principal that All Men (and Women) Are Created Equal; and 

WHEREAS, discrimination against any group of people is contrary to our belief in, and our value of, equality; and 

WHEREAS, discrimination in any form carries a social and economic cost; and 

WHEREAS, Lyme considers itself a welcoming and inclusive community

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of the Selectmen of the Town of Lyme hereby

Reaffirms our value and belief that All People are Created Equal

Disavows any words or actions that would discriminate against any group of people, including, but not limited to, discrimination based upon race, religion, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation or identity, disability, or economic status

Declares that the Town and its government will act in ways to prevent and remove discrimination and will not accept discrimination in any form from its employees and volunteers

Supports efforts in the community and schools that will educate on issues of equality

Supports efforts to reduce economic inequality in the Town of Lyme.

Editor’s Note: More to follow on this developing story.

Comments

  1. The people of Old Lyme have asked their selectmen to consider a variety of similar resolutions put forth by selectwoman, Mary Jo Nosal. I would be pleased if the selectmen would consider following Lyme’s lead, and approving text like this.

  2. Susan Kneen Way says

    As long as women of any ethnic background remain in parentheses and earn less than men, no other minority will have equal status with white men.

  3. Maureen Haseley-Jones says

    Old Lyme BOS need to follow Lyme’s resolution and stop hiding their heads in the sand and recognize the reality that racism exists and must be dealt with by us all to eliminate this problem.

  4. Cait Nosal says

    It seems our neighbors were able to support a resolution and thoughtfully articulate that this is a commitment to uphold equity within their town – unlike Tim Griswold and Chris Kerr whose deep insecurities prevent them from even engaging in a conversation on the topic, let alone carrying out their duties as elected officials.

    • Jonathan B. Wilder says

      I would say that deep insecurities is putting it mildly!The two Republican selectmen seem to be sharing in the collective meltdown afflicting most conservative white males here in 2021.Perhaps they have white grievance issues about their own lives?Most likely too much time watching Tucker Carlson on the Fox News Channel.The way to deal with this is to contact state media outlets and ask them to do a piece on this situation,the more outside media attention the better!They seem comfortable with Old Lyme’s bleached status.Make them uncomfortable.

  5. Thomas D. Gotowka says

    Congratulations to Lyme’s Board of Selectman on their decision. Perhaps it’s finally time for the pointlessly resistant Republican members on our BOS to get their heels and heads out of the sand and cooperate with Selectwoman Nosal in drafting a statement of values for Old Lyme.
    I had initially thought that this was purely symbolic, but their actions, should they continue, are clearly more than symbolic, and impact our community’s reputation as an open and friendly place. That said, Old Lyme has become a regular feature in the “Day”, focused on both this issue, and a beach association’s efforts to convert an historically public beach to a private beach inaccessible to non-residents.
    The “Witness Stones” project, which was dedicated a few weeks ago, already demonstrates that residents recognize an unfortunate part of our town’s history. As I’ve expressed before, a fitting capstone on that project would be acknowledgement, in a values statement, that, in Old Lyme, all residents may avail themselves of the same resources and opportunities, regardless of race, color, or creed.
    This is so unfortunate. I’ve been following this issue, and it could have been handled so much better.

    • Cait Nosal says

      Hear, hear! I loved this from the Examiner’s report on the Witness Stone dedication:

      “That date may not mean much to you in isolation but the town was only named Lyme in 1667, only three years earlier, which means that slavery was embedded in our history from the time of the town’s founding,”- Carolyn Wakeman

      Doesn’t that accurately sum up the point of this resolution? I’m so proud of the Lyme/Old Lyme community, I hope the elected Republican BOS will follow in their community’s footsteps.

  6. George Clough says

    On April 9th Lymeline accurately reported on my call into the Old Lyme BOS meeting April 6th:
    https://lymeline.com/2021/04/resolution-on-racism-raised-again-in-old-lyme-bos-no-progress-made-nothing-to-discuss-selectman-kerr/
    Given that Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal’s respectful requests for opening a dialogue and her ongoing effort to come up with a positive affirmative statement by the town had not been considered by the two Republican selectmen, I felt a need to lend my voice. I was met with such vitriol that I thought if the two selectmen had read the comments section following the Lymeline reporting that they, too, would have been offended by such commentary by persons who identified as supporting the two selectmen. Instead: crickets!
    I thought that all you had to do to see we have a problem is read those comments. I called Tim Griswold a racist? Sorry, but the recorded call and reporting clearly shows I did not.
    Call the Town of Old Lyme a racist community? Sorry, but again the reporting didn’t say that and neither does the BOS recording.
    What I DID say was that it was time for the duly elected representatives of our community to respectfully and cooperatively cobble together a positive vision for our town that would recognize the darkness of the past and lead our collective community into a better more inclusive and just future.
    Too much to ask? Oh that’s right, I said lead. And isn’t that just what this suggests. It takes commitment and sometimes guts to lead. Mary Jo Nosal has spent a lot of political capital in her pressing these issues for which I will always admire her.
    For Old Lyme the sad fact is we have not seen this leadership from our other two elected officials. BTW, “No comment” is not a conversation Mr.Kerr.
    Tim and Chris, time to lead and work with Mary Jo. We will be watching as I suspect the media will also be following.
    Just think, if Lyme can do it why not Old Lyme?

  7. This issue will be settled once and for all with the upcoming municipal elections in November. Voter’s will speak loud and clear, by casting their vote for the Republican candidate for First Selectman over the Democratic candidate Mrs. Nozel, if she has the courage to seek that position.

  8. Christina J. and Thomas D. Gotowka says

    We want to re-center the discussion back to the proposed statement of our community values and recognition of Lyme’s “equality resolution”, rather than allow a single respondent’s threatening comment be the final bit of feedback that the BOS receives prior to next week’s meeting. (N.B., that is our interpretation of that comment’s intent).
    Then, assuming that Madame Editor allows us to add some emphasis to our past statements, what Selectwoman Nosal has proposed is simply a declaration of our community’s values, urging that our BOS resolve to address racism as a public health crisis, and continue to assure that all residents enjoy the same opportunities, regardless of race color, or creed. That resolution does not condemn the Town or its residents as “racist”.
    Old Lyme has become an outlier in CT. By May, more than twenty CT towns and cities have already declared this to be a public health crisis. When finally passed, Old Lyme will join them, and more than five states, 90 cities, and 65 counties that have also recognized that public health crisis; joining the American Medical Association, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American Psychological Association, the American Public Health Association, and the CDC. Also note that both CT’s House and Senate have joined the above, and created a commission to address racial inequities in health care.
    Again, this is so unfortunate. This issue could have been handled so much better. Our Town’s website already states that we are a “Caring Community”.

  9. Thomas D. Gotowka says

    Well, I think the “ayes” have it, even with a little bit of “self-selection bias”; i.e., those who either strongly support, or strongly oppose an issue may be more likely to speak out than those who don’t care at all.
    Nevertheless, it’s a good message to send to the BOS in advance of their next meeting.
    In my opinion, there’s no loss of face for the dissenting selectmen who have opposed drafting a “resolution” or statement of community values. The wheels of government turn slowly.
    That said, I sincerely hope that I’m not being rash or presumptuous, but, as noted in an earlier comment, much of CT, including our neighboring municipalities, and CT’s state’s legislators have already acted in a similar manner.

  10. George E. Ryan says

    I find the wording of the Lyme Selectmen’s Equality Resolution acceptable and to the point. I do, however, want to hear the specifics on how the Old Lyme community and Region #18 schools will educate on issues of equality. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.”

    As for the reluctance of Tim Griswold and Chris Kerr to put forth a similar resolution because, in Tim’s words: “I don’t subscribe to the idea that we have a public health crisis in Old Lyme” … and that he felt the Old Lyme Resolution was written in a very negative way … I agree … and, I do not consider Old Lyme to have a “public health crisis” either.

    “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963.

    The Old Lyme community and Region #18 schools should … and I believe for the most part have … practiced the axiom that the only measure of judging a human being is through that person’s character, because character is not determined by race, religion, gender or social status. And one who recognizes this simple fact of human life behaves the same with the politician, the local storekeeper, the landscaper, and the house cleaner. Perhaps some of us need a refresher course on how to judge less and understand more.

    My recommendation: adopt the Lyme Selectmen’s resolution and let Lyme and Old Lyme communities stand as one community – together. We are all Americans – no other race, religion, gender or social status identifier is necessary or required.

  11. I believe the majority of Old Lyme residents would support a resolution that eliminates the harsh words presented in the original resolution.

    It is unfortunate that some have portrayed our First Selectmen as an unworthy public official for his stand on this issue.

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