Letter to the Editor: Resident Thanks Council 'For Starting This New Chapter Together'
"You have a tough job and I admire that you have the guts to take it on and stick with it," Cheryl Webster Miller writes in an open letter to Troy City Council members.
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Dear Troy City Council Members:
After a long year of differing opinions in our city we have arrived at a new chapter. My family and I look forward to future local headlines covering new band uniforms, the high school theater production or the latest road construction updates. We are hopeful that when Troy makes the national news it will be for something wonderful and positive – maybe one of our locals will win another Tony award or find a cancer cure or receive a Pulitzer.
After living and raising a family in Troy for the past 23 years, 2012 brought many personal “firsts” for me:
- First time I ever spoke at a City Council meeting – or any kind of political meeting for that matter.
- First time I ever held a “protest” sign in front of any building.
- First time I appeared on local TV news and CNN (see first two bullets)
- First time I donated money to anything political.
- First time I ever broke our family’s “no political signs in the front yard” rule.
- First time I got calls and texts and messages from across the country asking “What are you doing in Troy?”
- First time I felt ashamed to say that yes, I am from Troy Michigan, the city with “that” mayor.
- First time I wept with anger because something a Troy leader said publicly (multiple times) hurt me and people I love.
- First time I ever really paid close attention to a local election & stayed up late to wait for results, twisting my hands as the final counts came in.
Hopefully these things will also be “lasts” for me and our city will return to being the wonderful place that I have bragged about to my out-of-town friends and family for the past 23 years.
My family is made up of all kinds of people. We have Republicans and Democrats and Independents, Christians and Jews and Agnostics, Straight and Gay, Spartans and Wolverines. We find a way through our differences to respect and love each other even when that means sometimes talking about the weather until we cool down. This is what our city needs YOU to do right now. We need you to be the role models for respect and acceptance. Work together. Collaborate on the all of the issues to make the best possible decisions to build our city up & restore our reputation. Make Troy the place where all kinds of people want to raise families and build businesses.
And if a city leader or employee makes bigoted statements YOU need to stand up for our community and say "NO, not OK anywhere, and not OK in Troy." If the city council “rules” don’t allow you to do this then you need to change the rules.
I want to thank the council members for starting this new chapter together. Remember that we are waiting for positive messages from you as our city leaders. Our children need leaders to admire, and trust. Our town needs leaders who embrace our wonderful diversity and use every opportunity to celebrate all of our citizens. We are watching for you to respect those of all religions, cultures, races, political affiliations and sexual orientations. Send the inclusion messages in every possible way so that our community and our kids don’t miss it.
Before this past year, I sat on the sidelines and trusted that the people who sought public office would make good decisions. I just assumed everything would work out for the best and I really did not understand what the council members do. After watching the developments this past year I have grown to admire the challenges you face and collaboration needed to come to the best result. You have a tough job and I admire that you have the guts to take it on and stick with it.
Thank you for being a Troy leader and for guiding our community through the next chapter.
Cheryl Webster Miller