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From the Chair: CARPC Statement on Black Lives Matter

From the Chair: CARPC Statement on Black Lives Matter

Mural by Charlotte Bizoe, Tattooer at Isthmus Tattoo and Social Club, 218 State Street 
soulwaterskeleton@gmail.com | Instagram: @soulwaterskeleton

The Capital Area Regional Planning Commission envisions “a region where communities create exceptional quality of life for all by working together to solve regional challenges.”

The killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, two of the most recent in a long history of institutional violence against Black men and women, make clear yet again that our vision is not possible until Black lives matter.

Our vision will only be possible when true racial equity is achieved, not just in policing and the criminal justice system, but in all aspects of life including education, jobs, wealth, health, housing, and transportation.

Planning should foster racial equity. Unfortunately, historically it has fallen short. As the statement from the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Planning Association said, “Though we may not want to admit it, or say it out loud, racism in planning and development practices played a part in the household wealth disparities that underpin many of the racial differences in our state and nation.”

With our offices located at the top of State Street, it is impossible to ignore the physical manifestations of grief, frustration, and anger – along with strength, compassion, and hope – resulting from the very real effects of systemic racism.

Though equity and justice have long been important to our organization, the current moment shows us that we must do more to further these objectives throughout the cities, villages, and towns of the greater Madison region.

In the past, we have worked to raise awareness of how historic racism in housing and planning helped shape current disparities, and we have sought diverse participation in our planning endeavors.

Moving forward, CARPC must continue to learn about the history of racism in planning and apply it to correcting historical injustice and its legacy of wealth disparities. We must actively seek out, learn from, and support partners engaged in social and racial justice work. We must view our plans and policies through the lens of race to consider whether our work is perpetuating or correcting institutional racism. We must continuously strive to recognize and address our internal biases. We must achieve greater racial diversity on our commission and staff. And we need to commit the time and resources to tackle these imperatives.

As a public agency, we recognize that it is our responsibility to incorporate social justice into our core land use and water quality planning functions. We are committed to the long-term work of learning, assessing, and improving so that our vision of “exceptional quality of life for all” may one day become a reality.

Larry Palm, Chairperson