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Standard has been set for a ‘Positive Amherst’


To the Editor,

Monday marked the administrative end of filing an official complaint regarding an issue of racism. It commenced with the ethical issue of standing by, knowing an elected official should be held accountable, or pursuing it knowing the damaging image it would bring to our community.

Considering the onslaught of social media and not so private rumours, a decision was made that a complaint would bring clarity. In fact, it allows for the people involved to heard in a fair manner.

 Rumours and innuendoes create deep wounds amongst victims whose attackers are often vicious. There must be a process with a duty to act fairly inclusive of people's right to be heard before judgment. To do otherwise is plain cowardly.   

What one can not understand going into such a fray is how the issue at hand can be so greatly magnified by the groundbreaking legislative and administrative hurdles due to an absence of jurisprudence with such matters. The administrative delays were frustrating to say the least. The disrespectful social media, private and public behaviours by members of our community and many from afar remain worrisome. 

As the person making the complaint there is an strong sense of disappointment of persons who normally embrace a positive community suddenly distancing themselves. The hate mail...thankful it has a unique basket to be filed in. 

In stark contrast, personal support and encouragement is heartfelt from family, friends and even the most unexpected persons. At the end of the day one never embraces the sense of being alone. 

A decision has finally been rendered. The elected official was deemed to have breached a code of conduct pertaining to the police commission. The corrective action included a reprimand and 90-day suspension from the police commission.

Many procedural processes were learned by the community. Such was especially the case for those persons, who quite frankly did not sign up for such situations, but had the courage to act when required. 

We live in a great, caring and giving community. Our future is bright. It is now a time to heal. There are many new lessons learned.  It's a time to move forward knowing that our community has the courage to stand in the way of public officials who disrespect others, be it from carelessness or intent.

The standard has been set in that a "Positive Amherst" is one where you can question challenges to our respect for diversity without fear. It has also been clarified that there are accountability mechanisms for elected municipal officials.

Hal Davidson, Amherst


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