A letter from the mayor
Editor’s note: The letter below was submitted by Orange Mayor Larry Spears Jr. concerning the death of George Floyd. The Orange Leader has opted to put the letter on the front page in order for all to have an opportunity to read it.
To the Citizens of Orange, Texas:
I wish to convey several thoughts about our mutual feeling of frustration concerning the horrific murder of Mr. George Floyd. I also wish to convey what we as a community must do to help improve and establish a stronger sense of unity here in Orange, Texas.
First, I am humbled to serve this community, my hometown, as the Mayor of Orange. I must admit that I have truly been at a loss for the perfect words on what to say, and how to convey my heart on this matter. It has taken some time for me to gather the words that adequately reflect my level of disgust and concern about what we, as a community and a nation, must do to stop these senseless acts of violence that we see today.
I have received many messages of concern from the public asking what we, Orange, Texas, can do to improve and prevent the situations that we see across the United States from happening here. I appreciate the opportunity to hear your voices and will work to coordinate and follow through with opportunities to openly and publicly discuss the issues that we all wish to address, such as racial equality, economic opportunities, and social justice for all.
We must come together to talk about the wrongs that we see in the world. We must come together to acknowledge that we must do everything within our ability to stand strong as one community, to love one another, and to treat each other equally as Christ has commanded us. I recognize the anger and I, too, am equally outraged and disappointed in what our country has allowed to happen, but that does not mean we have to accept what we see or disregard it because it has happened elsewhere.
The time is now for every citizen, business, organization, and church to stand in solidarity and support of one another. We must refuse to allow hatred to infiltrate the blessings that we have come to experience here in Orange. I made a solemn declaration two years ago to always keep God first in this city, and I truly believe that He is the only true answer in a time such as this.
I support our police department and our officers the same as I support each and every citizen of this community. We all want what is best for Orange and we all want to go home to our families at the end of the day.
I sincerely hope that we can unify as one body for justice and equality for all. My heart hurts; I honestly and wholeheartedly have had to seek the Lord for guidance on this matter. We will get through this and we will rise above, but we must acknowledge and condemn what happened to Mr. Floyd as wrong. We never want anything of that nature to happen to anyone ever again in our world.
How do we get there? We do our part by loving one another. We treat each other with respect and equality, and most importantly we must recognize that we are responsible for our own actions. It starts with each and every one of us putting God first in all that we do, and by understanding that silence in the face of hatred can no longer be tolerated. We must speak out, and we must listen to what is being said.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will have to come up with an avenue to host a town hall meeting or opportunity for discussion, but our mission is to be transparent, honest, and understanding of people’s opinions.
I truly love you all and these are my thoughts on what we must do next. I look forward to meeting with you and listening to your concerns and questions. The time has come to join as one so that together we can change the things that hurt us all. Even though it seems as if so much around us is falling apart we must remember that God is still in control!
Thank you for allowing me to serve as the Mayor of Orange. May God continue to bless us all.
Larry Spears Jr.
City of Orange, Texas
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