It was the second virtual State of the City Address for Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger.
The night started out with his swearing in for his fourth term, which he narrowly won in March. Now, Weinberger embarks on three more years in office.
Monday’s “Organization Day” continued with the swearing-in ceremonies of newly elected and re-elected city councilors.
“I look forward to being one of the twelve voices deliberating on the big issues in the city,” said newest Burlington City Councilor Mark Barlow.
Barlow is a long-time Burlington resident, having spent more than 40 years in the community. He will be taking over Franklin Paulino’s former seat, representing the North District, Ward 4 and 7.
When Weinberger addressed the Queen City, it wasn’t the pandemic that mst concerned him, but police reform and racial justice. He says despite fighting the virus for 13 months, we’re in a dramatically different place today.
“Tonight the state of the city is one of great hope. Together, we are ready to take on the opportunities ahead and emerge from this time of historic challenge as a health year, greener, more equitable, and a more racially just community,” said Weinberger.
In the months and years ahead, he says racial justice will be a key component of his work.
“It is the most pressing challenge and our hardest challenge and one that we have failed to get right over a period of time that stretches from our country’s founding into the present day,” said Weinberger.
He also apologized for acting on his own racial biases during his term and vows to do better.
“In recent weeks, I have caused harm to the black community in Burlington and, particularly, to black women in Burlington, and for that I am truly sorry,” said Weinberger.
He says as the city addresses the economic hardship, the housing crisis, public infrastructure, and the climate emergency, he and his administration will also confront racial disparities in all these areas.
“I’m seeking to learn to make racial justice central to the work of local government and to become anti-racist leader who identifies racism and works to dismantle it,” said Weinberger.
Weinberger concluded his state of the city address by talking about his adopted daughters, who are also children of color.
“There’s only so much I can do to protect them from a racist world. And so I’ve resolved that I must do more to change that world, and make sure that Ada and Li Linn and all other children of color in Burlington know they fully belong here,” he said.
By the end of the month, Weinberger says he’ll issue an executive order that ensures new policies are made with BIPOC communities in mind. Additionally, with the help a racial equity committee, Weinberger will be implementing an intensive, anti-racist training curriculum for all Burlington Police members.