The City of Ithaca and Tompkins County have approved with some revisions the Reimagining Public Safety Plan. To learn more click here.

There have been a lot of community conversations circulating about the proposed Reimagining Public Safety plan announced by Mayor Myrick in late February.

While SURJ joins our Antiracist Coalition partners in demanding a further divestment and reallocation of funds away from policing and rejects the increase to the policing budget proposed in the Reimagining plan, we believe it’s important to share input from various BIPOC voices in our community.

Please read through this collection of responses that have emerged so far:

Southside Community Center hosted this forum with responses to the proposal from many local Black community leaders. It’s a very powerful and informative two hour conversation that we strongly encourage everyone to listen to. It also includes a presentation on the proposal from Mayor Myrick and Jason Molino at the beginning.

The Tompkins County Antiracist Coalition, a multiracial coalition that TC SURJ is a member of, released this statement last week. A short excerpt: “While aspects of Myrick’s proposal appear progressive, the plan sidesteps the call to defund police—a central demand of the antiracist movement that arose last year after the brutal killing of George Floyd. Myrick’s proposal, which actually expands law enforcement budgets, seeks to reorganize policing instead of shifting real resources and power to vulnerable communities that are most in need of genuine safety and security.”

The Ithaca Teachers Association (ITA) rank and file membership was blindsided by the statement that falsely implies to represent the entirety of the nearly 600 educators employed by the Ithaca City School District. Actual stances by union members may run the spectrum on this issue, but it is complex and we live in this community, and they feel their views have been inappropriately misrepresented. This is particularly true as many within ICSD work to make our schools antiracist spaces. The emotional impact is that this message supports a central institution of systemic racism. Please read the response letter here.

Community Leaders of Color (CLOC) supports the Public Safety Reimagined draft report and urges the adoption of its current draft recommendations. Please follow this link to read their full and nuanced statement.

The Tompkins County Workers Center recently released this statement rejecting the Ithaca Police Benevolent Association and AFL-CIO’s claim that the plan includes union busting tactics. Excerpt: “If this were any other occupation, we at the Workers’ Center would not dismiss accusations of union busting. But the working class needs our governments to move on from traditional American policing, and invest directly in the communities who have been over-policed and under-represented. We need to move on from police benevolent associations, and instead increase union membership in professions that build our community rather than tear it apart.”

Here are two letters to the editor, one from community activist Monique Caraballo and one from The Ithacan, demanding that we go further as a city and a county toward allocating resources to human needs such as housing, childcare and healthcare rather than increased budgets for policing.

We encourage everyone to read, listen, and stay informed about opportunities to engage with the process and continue advocating for a redistribution of funds away from the white supremacist institution of policing and into the community resources that keep us all safe.