Letters to the Editor – from Joy McGregor

‘I will do everything to ensure this does not happen again’

Dear Community:

I acknowledge that I have upset many people by using language that was inconsiderate. If I had the language that I now know I need to learn, I would have approached this situation completely different. I am deeply sorry to you all and those affected by poor choice of language and the feelings you have felt since the September town council meeting.
When I decided to represent my community I did so because I wanted to be a positive influence and felt deeply connected to you all. It is in moments like these that I realize I have work to do to ensure the entire community is represented and that my role as a leader is to represent everyone.
While decisions may be made that negatively impact others and may upset the community, my responses and the way I show up will always be done so with intention and with better leadership than previously.
What I have learned from this experience upon reflection and taking the time to form this apology is that I represent the community at large and that means taking an initiative to understand and learn in ways I have not before. It means welcoming ways to unlearn racism, to invite cultural sensitivity training, and ways of educating myself and others on what it means to be a better leader.
I will also take this experience and see where I can do better among my town council and committee members. The language I chose to use did not originate from me but I chose to use it and also did not choose to take the time in that meeting prior to town council to encourage my colleagues and peers to use better language.
I will find ways to disrupt the patterns we see occurring often in our interactions, engagements, meetings, and take others on my journey to do better.
Those who know me know that I truly mean no harm but I understand you can do the best you think you are doing and still have room to grow and learn from mistakes.
While this is my home and I have been here my entire life, I know this home belongs to many and people were here before me that I need to educate myself on more to understand how this is our community and how my position of power impacts others.
I understand this letter of apology will not undo the harm and this moment speaks to bigger issues of systemic racism in our community.
I leave this apology with you while I do my best to show this community that I will do everything I can do to ensure this does not happen again from a group of leaders who represent you.

Joy McGregor
Councilor Town of Slave Lake

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