Dear Editor, To the students and parents of Hart and Wooldridge elementaries, and the many other community members who were gathered at the City Council meeting on Thursday or witnessed it on television: We want to express our sincere apologies for the offensive remarks directed your way by another member of the City Council. The comments were hurtful and insulting, and we want you to know we don’t agree with them or share our colleague’s views and perspective. Later, Council Member Delia Garza eloquently condemned the remarks on behalf of many of us on Council. This experience has been a vivid reminder of a key tenet of the No Place for Hate campaign: that each of us has a responsibility to confront bigotry and prejudice and to call out hateful speech when we hear it. Please make no mistake: The position our colleague expressed is not one we share, and we believe everyone who comes to City Hall has a right to be treated with respect. We’re proud to live in and represent the diverse families who together make up this city we love. The students and families who came to testify at City Hall on Thursday spoke eloquently about the need for quality afterschool programs and parent-teacher support specialists. We commend their leadership in advocating for these important resources on behalf of their larger school communities – and for their commitment to making Austin a better place for all of our families.
Council Member Ora Houston (District 1), Council Member Ann Kitchen (District 5), Council Member Leslie Pool (District 7), Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo (District 9)