A Leader Listens
My name is Adam Aguilera, and I’m a candidate for Vancouver City Council. I believe the most important thing a leader can do is listen. I have been engaging with community members to gain an understanding of their experiences. Your stories are compelling, important, and deserve to be heard. Here is what residents have shared with me:
- Vancouver City should respond in as timely a manner as possible to community concerns with compassion and transparency.
- The City of Vancouver needs to coordinate effectively with community groups such as neighborhood and business associations. When developing plans such as the Westside Bike Mobility Project, the city’s Parking Advisory Committee and community input should be included to honor the time and work invested in these public works.
- It is important to wait for results from independent investigations to avoid judgments with limited information. We must also acknowledge the grief, pain, and healing local families are experiencing in the wake of recent shootings. We must support one another, as one, to build sustainable community relationships.
- Residents are expressing support for working with law enforcement to find and implement solutions. For example, body and dash cams can improve transparency and protect both residents and police officers. The community expresses willingness to address opportunities in creating effective policies.
- Vancouver must be culturally responsive to the history of segregation and oppression communities of color have, and continue to experience. Public outreach must be inclusive of all residents in employment, affordable housing, public safety, and community leadership.
- We must continue to recognize the dedication and service Vancouver police officers give to our city. Their work involves protecting and supporting us at the risk of their own lives. We must continue to find ways to support an underfunded and understaffed department.
These are the perspectives residents have shared at recent vigils, neighborhood meetings, and citizen forums. Our neighbors are asking us to look beyond labels, identify problems, and focus on relationships. I agree with this feedback. As an educator, my students are most successful when they have a respectful and positive relationship with their teacher. In the days ahead, I commit to Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle’s charge to our city from her State of the City address, “We must work together to help heal our community.”