LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Anna Council meetings should be on Zoom

Anna-Melissa Tribune

Dear Editor,

I was disappointed to learn that the Council in Anna is refusing to use Zoom/FB Live to allow for residents to participate in conversations regarding the town. This decision is exclusionary and, at this point of people using virtual meetings for everything from work to game nights to family dinners, it is unacceptable for Anna to continue to refuse to provide this service.

I am very interested in the Diversity and Inclusion Committee in Anna, and would like to participate in discussions. This topic is important, especially as our community continues to grow. I have heard stories of BIPOC neighbors feeling unsafe in our community. I think we as a community have a responsibility to address these issues.

As a single mom, I am not able to afford child care to attend a meeting, no matter the topic. Additionally, there are people within our community who work during the evening but would like to watch a recorded video of the meeting. Finally, the decision to not to allow for digital access to the meetings is an example of exclusion in itself: only the privileged few who are able to attend are granted the ability to participate. Is this the type of community we envision for Anna?

Many other municipalities are offering virtual options for meetings. They began at the height of the lockdown, but continued as it was safe to gather. City managers of other municipalities understand that, now that the technology has been established, there is no reason to stop using it. Digital meetings allow for more participation, more ideas, forming a stronger community. I hope that the City of Anna will listen to their residents and offer these meetings in a variety of forms, showing that Anna is truly is everyone’s “hometown.”

— Aubrey Turner, Anna