CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — The mayor of Kenosha, Wisconsin, John Antaramian, gathered with local leaders Monday to talk about the next steps for the city of approximately 100,000.
“The first part of healing is listening, not talking, listening — and that’s what we’re starting to do,” said Mayor Antaramian. “Next week we’ll begin the first listening sessions and that will be run by Ken Bergeron from the U.S Dept of Justice.”
Those listening sessions are an attempt at uniting a community, which has experienced unrest since the police shooting of Jacob Blake in August.
Mayor Antaramian is also committing to address other issues like: education, policing, employment and mental health.
“I’m not going to sit here and tell everyone ‘Oh gee this is going to be quick and we’re going to fix everything and it’s all going to be done tomorrow,”” Antaramian said. “Because if we start believing that, nothing’s gonna happen. This is a long term process.”
That point, illustrated just moments later, after the meeting was finished when community members began pushing the mayor for answers to their own questions.
“We’re the people of Kenosha and who’s standing and speaking for us?” said one bystander.
Another community activist later added, “(We) want to be involved too. Don’t exclude us – so we just got to see if it’s going to be followed through.”
Antaramian pledged that things will be different and the buck stops with himself.
“The person responsible is me and that is my responsibility to take the council is there to help support and get things done but in the end down the road it’s going to be my responsibility to make sure we changed,” said Antaramian.
The mayor estimates the city will need about $50 million, which he says will be a mix of federal, state and local funds.