Editorial: Florida, eat our snow
When the National Conference of Black Mayors publicized its arrival in Breckenridge this week, a unique item showed up in the press release. The organizers made it clear the group had been planning to go to Florida ” their traditional spot ” before former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb stepped in and convinced the group otherwise.
The selling point had to be strong for such a drastic change ” and as it turns out, it was the snow. There isn’t a National Conference of Black Mayors chapter west of Texas. And according to the group’s website, Colorado doesn’t even have an African American mayor sitting in office in 2007.
Frederick Riley, communications director for the Conference, said Wellington Webb ” still an active member of the Conference ” made the plea for Denver. When the group saw Breckenridge was also a viable option, and heard about skiing and sleigh rides and the mountains, they set their marks on Summit County.
Turns out, even the town’s marketing department didn’t know they were coming. The Breckenridge Resort Chamber said they were a bit surprised too. It seems that this national conference of influential leaders picked the location because of Wellington Webb’s recruiting work alone. The group had posed the age-old question ” “Sand or snow?” ” and we should take its decision as a good sign of things to come.
More importantly, our lack of diversity is why Colorado is the best choice. This week’s conference should open the doors for more diversity groups to follow, while reminding us that fair representation in government leadership should be a necessity, not an option.
The mayors will be touring the Barney Ford Museum on Friday, a telling monument to how much nonwhites have given to our towns, in contrast to Breckenridge’s homogeneous population today. For those who don’t know, Ford was an escaped slave who prospered and became a prominent entrepreneur and civil rights pioneer.
Yet to the mayors coming in town, Riley said, all that is really beside the point. The group really came for the snow, he explained.
And they may not know how much that choice actually meant, in the short and long term, to our community. For that, and much more, we pass along our thanks and a big welcome to Wellington Webb, and all the mayors in town this week.
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