Some town residents said it wasn’t necessary and may be a veiled slap at President Donald Trump, but the Board of Selectmen on Feb. 21 approved its own version of a requested tolerance proclamation, declaring the town to be an inclusive community.
Only they called it a “civility, respect and understanding” proclamation.
The unanimous approval at the selectmen’s meeting, with member Lori Bufano absent, comes at a time when police are still investigating flyers pronouncing “make America white again” that showed up in a few Wilton driveways.
“Thank you for taking this up,” said Heather Wilcauskus, a 20-year Wilton resident who proposed the proclamation to the Board of Selectmen earlier this month to declare the town a place of tolerance. She spoke at the board’s meeting on Monday, Feb. 6.
“I want to reaffirm our shared belief that diversity enriches us and tolerance, inclusion and civility are core values,” Wilcauskus said at the time.
Following is the way the selectmen worded the proclamation:
“We the selectmen of Wilton, Conn., do hereby affirm our town’s commitment to strive for civility, respect and understanding, and to value the diversity of those who live in, work in and visit our community without regard to gender, religion, sexual orientation, race, national origin, ethnicity, disability, political views, or social or economic status.
“We encourage all of our citizens to participate fully in our town government as envisioned in our Town Charter. Our commitment to inclusion of all citizens informs our values and enriches our community.
“We further resolve that the principles of civility, respect and understanding will guide the actions we take as selectmen.”
“It’s more than adequate,” said Selectman Dick Dubow.
“Enough drama,” said First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice, jokingly, after 15 minutes of haggling over the exact wording of the document.
This was a community-wide effort, Dubow said. “When you see the amount of emails we received, it’s remarkable. It’s a wonderful and positive reflection on our community,” Dubow said.
The proclamation originally proposed was endorsed by the Wilton League of Women Voters, the Democratic Town Committee and A Better Chance of Wilton.
It was also endorsed in several letters to the editor last week, but not everyone viewed it as necessary.
“For me personally, I don’t need a pointless proclamation to encourage me to continue to be civil,” Paul Lourd said in a letter that appears today on page 4A. “I don’t need a pointless proclamation to remind me to be inclusive and tolerant. I don’t need a pointless proclamation to urge me to continue volunteering for civic organizations and to help others.”
Of the white supremacist flyers, only three flyers were reported to have shown up in Wilton driveways, according to police, but as many as 30 were reportedly were found in driveways in neighboring Weston and some were found in Norwalk and Westport as well.
The flyers called for securing “the existence of our race” and the “future of white children” and had a link to a white nationalist website run by “alt-right” extremists.
The FBI has been notified and it is an open investigation that could result in harassment charges.