By Selene Raj
Members of the Tamarac City Commission disagreed on a lot during their June 10 meeting, but they were able to stand united about at least one important issue: acknowledging that Black Lives Matter.
It’s a phrase and a movement that has been repeatedly opposed and interrupted with “All lives matter,” in an attempt to shift the conversation away from systemic injustice and racism.
Several of the commissioners had acknowledged Black Lives Matter in social media posts before the June 10 meeting, including Commissioners Mike Gelin and Julie Fishman, but not all had done so publicly.
Throughout the meeting, they discussed police brutality and ways to hold deputies accountable. They spoke about the issues that directly impacted residents, and policies that needed to be put in place, not always agreeing on how to do so.
Towards the end of the tense meeting, Commissioner Gelin requested, that all elected officials on the commission be able to state those three words, to send a clear message of solidarity, about where the city stands.
And, they did.
One by one, they were called by the city clerk to respond.
After asking for a discussion on the topic, Vice Mayor Marlon Bolton went first.
“Black Lives Matter,” said Vice Mayor Marlon Bolton.
He asked for the city manager and attorney to be included as well.
City Attorney Sam Goren said, “I’m happy to respond, bluntly and directly, the answer is yes, Mr. Vice Mayor. And to all the commissioners and all those who are listening, that has always been my position in life, and that’s my position this evening.”
Bolton asked him to say the words themselves, and he responded passionately and affirmatively.
“Yes, I’m saying it right now. I’m saying Black Lives Matter. Not a question, not a doubt,” said Goren.
“Black Lives Matter,” said City Manager Michael Cernech.
“Black Lives Matter,” said Commissioner Gelin.
“Black Lives Matter,” said Commissioner Julie Fishman.
“Black Lives Matter,” said Commissioner Debra Placko.
“Black Lives Matter,” said Mayor Michelle Gomez.
That moment of unity and the entire meeting can be viewed online.
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- Selene Raj is a writer and a Florida International University graduate. Born in Trinidad and raised in America, she completed her Master's in Mass Communications in 2020, and has been living in Coral Springs since 2004. She is passionate about the communities she lives and works in and loves reporting and sharing stories that are as complex and meaningful as the people who live in them.