There’s no room for hate in the City of Solon, and one Solon Councilman wants to make certain of that.
Councilman Eugene Macke Bentley said during the last City Council meeting that he wants something on record condemning hate speech.
He said that he has been hearing from constituents of all races of their desire for something like this to be on the record or adopted by the body as a whole.
Mr. Bentley said the condemnation of hate speech could be a resolution or proclamation made by City Council as a whole.
“I want to vet out what our options are and then come up with an approach to get something on the record for everyone,” he said.
Mr. Bentley said some residents have been sharing their feelings about condemning hate speeches as well as their position on Confederate flags and Nazi Swastikas, among other symbols of oppression and hate.
“We don’t accept those things in our city and don’t agree with them,” he said. “We really want to do something as residents of Solon to try to give support to peace and love.
“I would like to have something in writing that says on the record how we feel about these things,” he said. “Solon is an incredible community and there are good and bad people everywhere.”
Mr. Bentley, who is the first African American member of City Council, said that the George Floyd incident “brought everything to a head.” Mr. Floyd, 46, died on May 25 after a white police officer knelt on the black man’s neck for nearly 8 minutes. The incident touched off protests nationwide. Minneapolis officers have been charged in the death.
“A few bad cops ruined it for everyone,” Mr. Bentley told fellow council members last week. “Do I think we have an issue in Solon? No, but we have to lend our support to whatever is going to happen.
“I don’t have all the answers,” Mr. Bentley said. “There are so many moving pieces and parts to it.”
Mayor Edward H. Kraus said he is in support of this effort.
He said it is particularly appropriate for a community as diverse as Solon to have something like this in place.
“We are the U.N. here,” he said of the city with residents of many different races, nationalities and religions.
Mayor Kraus said his only caveat is that he would not support anything with a political bend to it.
“If it is about no hate and about being inclusive as a community, I 110-percent support it,” he said. “I think it is wonderful for our community to be a leader in inclusion.”
“We represent people of all political persuasions,” the mayor said of the nonpartisan council and mayoral seats in Solon. “We may have our personal view on politics, but I represent everybody.”
Mayor Kraus said Solon already demonstrates its ability to be inclusive to all, citing a recent prayer vigil following the George Floyd incident.
“Solon stands out for its diversity, and that’s something he (Mr. Bentley) really wanted to capture, and I totally support that,” the mayor said.