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07/21/2020

Town Council approves creation of ad hoc Civil Rights Committee

During a special meeting on July 20, 2020 the Town Council voted unanimously in support of forming an ad hoc committee to address issues related to racism and inequality as recommend by the Appointments Committee in a workshop immediately prior to the meeting. After input from the public and discussion among the Town Council, the name of the ad hoc committee, originally proposed at the July 13 meeting, was changed from IDEAA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Anti-Racism, and Awareness) to the Civil Rights Committee. The change reflects the council's and the community's desire to establish a more direct and unambiguous name.

The scope of the original recommendation from the Appointments Committee was narrowed down in order to establish more immediate action steps and goals which will ultimately lead to the formation of a permanent, standing committee. Until that point, the ad hoc committee will consist of seven citizens appointed by the Town Council who will be granted sole voting rights. In addition, the Town Council will have one councilor serving as a non-voting ex-officio member and up to two student representatives from Cape Elizabeth High School and/or Cape Elizabeth Middle School who will also be non-voting members.

The charge of the ad hoc Civil Rights Committee will be:

  1. To prepare within three months from the first meeting of the Civil Rights Committee a draft standing-committee charge for the Town Council.
  2. Assess immediate actions and advise the Town Council on issues of racism and inequality in Cape Elizabeth.

The committee will have until December of 2021 to identify and review policies in the town government, services, and municipal departments that contribute to systemic and structural racism, and establish policy recommendations to promote greater equity and inclusion to the Town Council. Should the ad hoc committee complete their work prior to December 2021, they are welcome to deliver their recommendations sooner.

Councilor Penny Jordan stated that the ad hoc committee "can do more to create awareness in the community, so that positive actions will already have occurred by the time the standing committee begins."