Bridge Initiative Issues Report on work in Bloomington

On December 4, 2019 the Bridge Initaitive @ Moritz issued this report to the Bloomington (Indiana) community summarizing its work and highlighting potential next steps for the Bloomington community.

This Indiana Public Media article discusses the publication of the report:

A community conflict consultation group released a report Monday suggesting Bloomington assemble a task force to help oversee racial issues in the city.

The Divided Community Project’s Bridge Initiative, which is run out of The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, began its report in August after Mayor John Hamilton reached out to the group to help create “a structure upon which local leaders could begin to address these issues through action planning.”

At the time, the city had to shut down the Farmers’ Market for two weeks because it could not guarantee people’s safety after one vendor’s ties to a white supremacist group surfaced. 

While the Bridge Initiative report was spurred by the Farmers’ Market controversy, Bloomington Communications Director Yael Ksander says its purpose was to provide a broader view on racial issues in the city overall.

“This report and that community task force, that is something to deal with ongoing issues of racism in Bloomington,” she says.

William A. Johnson, former three-term mayor of Rochester, New York, led conversations with just over 45 individuals, including dozens of local community leaders and nine city officials. Both the mayor and chief of police participated.

Ksander says the report’s main findings show Bloomington has some work to do, but seems up to the task.

“The report very much concedes that racism and other forms of discrimination are a real thing here in Bloomington,” she says. “The other takeaway was that Bloomington does put its money where its mouth is and does have the engagement and the caring and the desire to address things head-on.”

The report suggested the task force be comprised of a diverse group of voices from around the community, and it should be the community that puts it together.

“That is very specifically and explicitly meant to be a community-led effort,” Ksander says. “So, although the city will for sure support it and city people will be part of it, how that is to be developed and next steps are all to be determined – and to be definitely determined by the community stakeholders who partake in it.”

The Board of Parks Commissioners will meet next Thursday, Jan. 9 to discuss the future of the Bloomington Farmers’ Market.​

To read the full report, click here.

For additional information about the Bridge Initiative @ Moritz, click here.