During the June EPNA Meeting, the members of the Association tasked the officers with constructing a statement on Black Lives Matter, social injustice, and our role as a neighborhood association. The officers appreciate the membership for trusting them with this very important task. Our statement is as follows:
The Eken Park Neighborhood Association (EPNA) exists to build community, create pride, and strengthen our neighborhood. To truly achieve these goals, they must work for all members of our neighborhood, not just some. We are a neighborhood association looking to protect our people; not a homeowner’s association that looks to protect people’s property. Therefore, we publicly acknowledge and stand against structural racism. We publicly acknowledge that Black Lives Matter. And we must publicly recognize the inequalities facing our black neighbors, black communities, and other communities of color.
We, the Neighborhood Association, can and will do more to address these issues within Eken Park.
The following are actions that we will take to address unconscious bias and inequities in the EPNA and neighborhood:
- Through our Eken Park Festival, we will seek out representation in the bands and vendors that we book. Provide space for local change agencies to have a vendor booth at no cost. We will extend this approach to all other events hosted by EPNA. Our progress will be reported in the EPNA End of Year Report.
- Through the money raised through the Festival, we will develop a giving strategy to directly fund initiatives to give back to the underserved, underrepresented residents of Eken Park and the Northeast side of Madison.
- We will work to diversify the membership of the EPNA to reflect the residents of Eken Park, starting with a survey to our neighborhood in order to better understand what our communities of color need from us and how we can help.
- We will continue to speak up – making our voices heard and advocating on issues affecting our neighborhood, particularly those of inequality, such as the F35 and PFAS. We will hold our neighborhood investors accountable for how their projects can benefit black communities and underserved communities. And we will magnify and amplify this messaging through our EPNA communication channels.
- We will create space where community leaders and organizations can speak on topics like inequality, structural racism, and the work taking place to drive change by dedicating time each meeting to open comments.
- We will start a neighborhood study group that will watch documentaries, read books and articles, and discuss issues of race and racism with neighbors.
- We will have our bylaws reviewed by a third party for areas that promote structural racism within our organization so we can work to remove them.
Additionally, we call on the City of Madison and, our neighbor, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway to take the following actions:
- Create a plan to formally adopt the 8 Can’t Wait recommendations
- Propose new city legislation to eliminate no-knock warrants, or petition the Wisconsin legislature and Governor Tony Evers to propose the legislation if the city does not have the authority
- Implement the 177 recommendations in the Madison Police Department Policy & Procedure Review Ad Hoc Committee’s Final Report
We, the EPNA, ask you to hold us accountable as we hold ourselves accountable to build community, create pride, and strengthen our neighborhood.