Pelham mayor: Fears we are losing ability to share different points of view

‘We believe that public servants should never demand respect.’


Editor’s note: This letter was provided by Village of Pelham Mayor Chance Mullen.

Dear neighbors,

Over the last several days, Pelham has seen firsthand the challenge of trying to communicate our intentions. America is at its best when we are able to share – and hear – different points of view, and I fear that we are losing our ability to do so. You should know that the Village of Pelham and the Pelham Police Department are deeply committed to the equitable treatment of all people. We believe that public s8ervants should never demand respect. We should earn it. For the last five months, Administrator Small, Police Chief Pallett, Trustee Spira-Cohen and I have been meeting weekly with six of our BIPOC neighbors to ensure that our police department is one that can earn the respect of every resident in our Village. This process will soon include forums with our entire community. We do this work in partnership with those we serve and with enduring respect for our sworn officers, recognizing that this community is owned by us all.

You should also know that we strongly support Dr. Champ and the Board of Education as they navigate this incredibly challenging school year. The Pelham Police Department has always worked in a cohesive and friendly manner with the school district. We recognize that the intention behind their recent decision was to ensure our children receive a quality education in an environment that fosters inclusion and learning. We do not – and will not – question their commitment to providing a safe environment for our children.

I hope we can all remember that the conversation we are having right now is one we’ve never really had before. We’re going to mess it up. If it’s helpful, you can rest assured that Pelham is not alone. This conversation is happening throughout America, in small towns and big cities alike. It’s bigger than all of us, and there’s simply no getting around it. The only question we can answer is one we must answer for ourselves: how do we want to show up for it?

I plan to show up with honesty, forgiveness, respect for our police officers, a commitment to centering the marginalized, and a belief that as difficult as this moment is, it’s worth it. I hope you’ll join me.

Please stay safe and stay healthy,