We have community members offering to keep our city moving forward. However, it takes a community willing to vote for progress and people that recognize and appreciate the growing diversity within our community. It requires citizens to exercise their right to vote.
The addition of Federal Way City Council members Lydia Assefa-Dawson, Jesse Johnson, Martin Moore and Hoang Tran has continued our movement from “Federal Way Past.” Our council gave us our first mayor, Mary Gates, to take us away from our “rent a cop” situation and later gave us our first Asian American mayor, Michael Park. Current Mayor Jim Ferrell hired Police Chief Andy Hwang, who leads a diverse police force. They are all great public servants who have moved us forward to honor the voice and diversity in our community.
With military values of equality, former city council member Bob Celski moved us further to an inclusive “Future Federal Way,” yet despite Olympic celebrity, we moved forward still by electing council member Johnson. Council member Dini Duclos pushed us forward by fighting to change a badly worded moratorium that seemed to imply apartment complexes were somehow responsible for a crime wave.
Our choices matter. As former President Obama said, “We get the leaders we deserve.” Could you imagine South Africans freed from apartheid voting in a past oppressor instead of their hero Nelson Mandela? After the “Black Lives Matter” movement had begun, did you notice who the mayor and police chief were in Ferguson, Missouri? It was inconceivable given the demographics of that city. Our votes matter.
We need a city council that will represent our path forward, not backward. One thing is clear, whether we vote or not, we will justly get the leaders we deserve.