One Lakewood Progress: New Year, New Opportunities For Progress In Anti-Racism For Lakewood
Late last year, I was appointed by Mayor George to sit on Lakewood’s newly formed Anti-Racism Task Force. As a Latina, it is not an appointment I take lightly. The work being done by the Anti-Racism Task force is a first for this community, and is critical to ensure that Lakewood continues to grow and progress towards a future where inclusion and equity is a cultural and societal norm: Where acceptance of all races and ethnicities is intrinsic rather than a by-product of tolerance, which by itself, lacks true equity.
I thank the George Administration for committing to doing this work, which may, at times, make folks feel uneasy. The work being done now will bring to the forefront community conversations which are long overdue. It is important to remember that looking at some hard truths regarding the past, whatever they may be, need not define who we are: it is only what we do with that information that is definitive - especially for our future.
Like many, I was spurred by the death of George Floyd and other unarmed black men while in custody of law enforcement to put forth my skills and interest in serving on the Task Force. My father and brother, who are dark skinned, have repeatedly been victims of racial profiling and police brutality through unwarranted traffic stops. Neither fought back against these injustices because they knew their voices wouldn’t matter. And to me, the mere fact that a human being’s voice, or life, may not matter as strongly or as equitably as the voices and lives of others is not only antithetical to the ideals of equality this country was founded upon, but is unconscionable.
I sought out public service, both as a career and as a calling, because I value helping others, and believe everyone is responsible for doing their part in taking care of the community, and people, around them. I also know that I want to be at the table where decisions are made that affect my community because voices like mine are usually absent from those conversations. It is incumbent upon us, when presented with an avenue, or opportunity, for authentic communication about the decisions that will shape the future of black and brown communities to get involved, and stay involved.
The opportunities for change and growth in how race, equity, income and health disparities are filtered through our laws, our local government and our sociocultural systems also sits with the community at large, and our ability to come together to support these areas as they shift in a more socially conscious direction.
I am looking forward to helping to shape these conversations in the years to come, and know the Task Force will be working hard as a collective to ensure the future of Lakewood is a future everyone can believe, and participate in.
We will only see progress if we join together and do the work as one community and one Lakewood.
Laura Rodriguez-Carbone was a candidate for Lakewood City Council. She is a community leader and advocate with nearly 20 years of experience in the federal and non-profit sectors in community engagement and multi-sectoral partnership management. She continues to give of her time through service in support of the health and future of Lakewood's citizens, including service on the Healthy Lakewood Foundation Planning Task Force, Anti-Racism Task Force, as part of the Board of Directors for the Fedor Manor Senior Living Community, and as part of Lakewood School's Issue 28 Levy Committee that helped pass a 4.9 mil levy in 2020 to support the education and future of Lakewood School students.
She and her husband, Christopher have been residents of Lakewood for five years and own their home on McKinley Avenue.