Opinions

Looking forward to working collaboratively with Anchorage’s new mayor

The Alaska Black Caucus and our Allies for Change welcome Dave Bronson to his new position as Mayor of Anchorage. We wish you well, Mr. Mayor. We extend our best wishes for your tenure to be a highly successful one.

The Alaska Black Caucus is a nonpartisan organization, devoted to promoting and protecting the Constitutional rights of African Americans, and by extension, all Americans. We take a broad view of our mission, so Mayor Bronson, we sincerely share many of your priorities. We look forward to working with you to provide for Anchorage a vibrant and equitable economy, a safe public sphere, a healthy environment, and meaningful opportunities for all in our great and diverse municipality.

We recognize there are challenges ahead for Anchorage. Our city has not been immune from the discord and deep divisions that have of late wracked institutions and politics across America. Threats and swastikas have appeared on buildings in Anchorage, and public officials have faced death threats. These things have no place in Anchorage, and the Alaska Black Caucus denounces all such acts of hate.

We eagerly anticipate your blueprint for restoring a vibrant economy here in Anchorage on the land of the Dena’ina. Mayor Bronson, did you know in Anchorage the poverty rate for white households is only 5%, but for Black households it is 16%, and for Alaska Native households it is 21%? Similarly, in Alaska, the median household income for white families is $82,600 compared to $53,800 for Black families. We look forward to working with you to recognize and change the root causes of systemic disparities to build a community where opportunity is not limited by the color of our skin. Mayor Bronson, let us together agree to do what we can to heal the division and cool the rhetoric abroad in our land.

We hope to build on priorities that we hold in common. The Caucus and our Allies are committed to fostering a thriving local economy, providing housing and needed services for the homeless; ensuring our community is safe from crime, and from health threats such as COVID-19; as well as ensuring the rights and privileges extended by the Constitution will equally apply to all citizens.

We also respect your interest in advancing strategic, effective, long-term cost savings that do not sacrifice community health, safety or economic sustainability. Finally, we appreciate your commitment to diversity and hope your administration will tap into the greatest resource available here in Anchorage: the energy and diverse perspectives of our people.

A century and a half ago, before the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln warned that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” His inspiration came from similar words attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. Where we find common ground and shared goals, it should be easy to combine our efforts. Where our values, commitments, and hopes overlap, we will happily support you and your administration. However, real success will only come if we listen with open hearts and remain at the table when we disagree. To this end, the Caucus and our allies pledge to work respectfully and in good faith with you or members of your administration.

The peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next is a hallmark of a healthy democracy.

Again, the Alaska Black Caucus welcomes you to office, Mayor Dave Bronson. We wish you all the best for a successful term in office.

Celeste Hodge Growden is the President and CEO of the Alaska Black Caucus. She lives in Anchorage.

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