Open Letter to Broomfield City Council

Good afternoon, everyone — since there will be no public comment during tonight’s important discussion on policy and enforcement regarding our neighbors who are unhoused (outside), I’m emailing briefly to ask each of you to consider adopting the following principles during your deliberations:

Be Dignity-Oriented — Rather than referring to “the homeless” or the article-less “homeless,” please use people-first language. As in “people who are unhoused.” Since I have gotten to know many of our unhoused neighbors by name, I have learned to see them as friends and not as “Others” to be feared, ticketed, arrested, relocated or despised. To me, they are “James” and “Randy” and “Brittany” and “David,” each of them a human being made in God’s image and each of them one of our neighbors in the most fundamental sense.

Be Trauma-Informed — Rather than seeing these neighbors of ours as a problem to be solved, remember that each member of the group under discussion this evening has a unique and challenging human story, one that often includes significant trauma. Please make policy and enforcement decisions in that light and do all you can not to add new trauma on top of their old and current trauma.

Be Equity-Focused — I’m often asked “How many are there?” and “What’s their connection to Broomfield?” — questions that have some merit, but that distract from the more important questions we should be asking ourselves and each other, such as “How should any of us react, individually and as a community, when we encounter a neighbor in need or many neighbors in need?” and “If I were in that situation, how would I want to be treated?” and “If one of my loved ones was in that situation, how would I want them to be treated?”

Now is the time when we as a community get to live up to the things we like to say about ourselves and truly work together to help Broomfield become the best version of itself.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to Broomfield and to each other. I look forward to listening in tonight.

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