Local BLM committee moving toward more independence

Setting up a new structure

[  By Mark Reaman  ]

The recently formed Black Lives Matter committee in Crested Butte will begin to move away from being under the auspices of the town of Crested Butte, and will shift to being an independent organization. That shift will take some time but the idea is to be a stand-alone group that can make recommendations to not just the town but to other government agencies and organizations throughout the area.

Originally formed last summer by the Crested Butte Town Council, the BLM committee drew interest from dozens of people interested in participating. Nearly 50 people have reached out to take part in the group in the two meetings that have been held. Six subcommittees were formed out of the main group. Council members Will Dujardin and Mallika Magner are council representatives to the group.

In a report to the council at the October 19 meeting, a memo from town planner Mel Yemma, stated that “The committee decided to work over the next few months to become an independent coalition/organization/movement outside the Town government, with active involvement and participation from Mallika Magner and Will Dujardin as a direct communication nexus with the Town Council.”

An executive committee of 10 people was formed to lead the BLM transition. That committee includes Magner and Dujardin, Chloe Bowman, Ginny Turner, Nunu Mbokwana, Laird Caigan, Mark Tardiff, Andrea Schumacher, Will Shoemaker and Maurice Caldare.

“There are still a lot of things to hash out but the general sentiment was to not be an official committee of town,” said Yemma.

Town manager Dara MacDonald said, once formed, the BLM group grew quickly in scope and wanted more than to just address Crested Butte policies and practices.

Dujardin indicated being separate from Crested Butte might make it easier to impact other groups and municipalities in the county. He suggested that eventually the BLM group might be better under the umbrella of the broad One Valley Leadership Council.

“I’m glad the group is moving to be independent from town,” said mayor Jim Schmidt. “It seems to make sense for them to be more like HCCA. To be clear, the group will provide recommendations, not rules, to the town. The council makes the final decision.”

Schmidt also said he would appreciate a recommendation from the BLM committee sooner rather than later on how to handle the proposed changing color of the Crested Butte marshals’ uniforms. The council has expressed support for adding at least a touch of blue to the black uniforms. With budget season in full swing, the council wants to allocate the needed costs for whatever change is decided.

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