The Boise city council voted unanimously on a resolution to condemn white supremacy on Sept. 24. The decision was made after a push from United Vision for Idaho, an organization dedicated to working to advance social, economic and environmental justice at the local, state and national level.
The resolution, which condemns hate and denounces bias and hate in all forms, commits to ensure that civil and human rights are extended to all individuals in the city of Boise and affirms Boise’s commitment to peace, respect, inclusivity and equity for all.
“We wrote and worked with the City of Boise to propose an ordinance denouncing white nationalism and white supremacy,” said Adrienne Evans, executive director of United Vision for Idaho. “The ordinance was unique in centering Native and Japanese internment as well as the systemic and continuing discrimination facing Black and Latinx populations through institutions and policing.”
The ordinance includes a provision for the city to expand and deepen their training for all city employees.
The organization has a long history of working with elected officials to advance policies that are critical for Idahoans.
“It was important to us that the ordinance begin with the state’s capital city,” Evans said. “We have always been met with respect and openness by the mayor’s office and we spent months working to ensure that the language of the ordinance met the needs of all parties.”
United Vision for Idaho was pleased with the way the city council and mayor handled the language and passing of the ordinance. They plan to continue working with other cities across the state to pass ordinances denouncing white nationalism and white supremacy.
City council president Lauren McLean felt the ordinance was necessary for the city of Boise to adopt.
“I believe it was important to pass this resolution to make clear that our residents oppose hate in all forms, recognize injustices of the past and strive to be a more welcoming and inclusive community,” McLean wrote via email. “The actionable effort would create change and a city-wide way to act on the words and values expressed in the ordinance.”
Students at Boise State University felt the ordinance was a good step in combating white nationalism. Victoria Mayer, president of Boise State College Republicans, said she supports the city council’s decision.
“MLK said, ‘Judge a man not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character,’” Mayer said. “I support racism being condemned, as racism is not tolerated by myself or any College Republican at Boise State.”
Ben Adams, a senior studying political science believes that while the resolution doesn’t carry strict consequences, it still shows the importance of introducing this type of language to the Boise community.
“A resolution is not binding, but it does show Boise’s efforts of treating people like people and not superficial descriptions,” Adams said.
Adams explained the ordinance is a sign that Boise is not only accepting of diversity but that the city is ready to continue growing.
“With the way Boise is growing we’re becoming a more diverse demographic, especially in the urban areas,” Adams said. “And it’s a good base, and a good sign that the city of Boise is prepared to grow.”
The necessity of this ordinance was questioned again. Adams would like to see how this language has been accepted in other cities across the country and if there was any type of backlash.
“If they haven’t received backlash from these groups, how beneficial or necessary is it passing a resolution like this to a community,” Adams said.