Dear Friends and Supporters:
The Harrison Police Review and Reform Committee recently completed a review of the Harrison Police Department in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order. Among other things, the Committee recommended:
“Harrison [PD] aspires to be more reflective of the town demographic makeup [and] the staffing of the police force should be more reflective of the actual population of the community it serves.”
The review concluded that diversity on our police force would “foster trust, fairness and legitimacy.”
The Committee and our Police Department could not have said it better – and their goal applies with equal force to our local government. Diversity and inclusion are as important in our town representatives as they are to our police force.
Unfortunately, Harrison’s government is not diverse. We are not where we should be in terms of inclusion on our various governing boards. The Town has five official decision-making bodies: Town/Village Board, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Architectural Review Board and Board of Assessment Review. These five boards are comprised of 31 persons: 25 (81%) are white males, 5 (16%) are white females and 1 (3%) is an Asian male.
Contrast those numbers with the demographic makeup of Harrison. The official Westchester County website reports that our population is 79% White, 5% Black, 9% Asian, 4% other, and 3% two or more races. The website further notes that 12% of the population is Hispanic. No gender breakdown is provided.*
Consider also the ethnicity and gender of students enrolled in the Harrison Central School District: 65% White, 2% Black, 12% Asian, 18% Hispanic and 2% other. Our students are also 50% Female and 50% Male.**
These statistics quite plainly show that the composition of Harrison’s local government is not representative of our population. Far from it. We need more minorities and women in elected and appointed positions.
Can our local government “foster trust, fairness and legitimacy” among minority members of our community or our community’s women if practically no one in office looks like them? No.
Just as we seek to improve diversity in our Harrison Police Department – and are doing something about it – we can do better and should do better in Harrison government.
The Moving Harrison Forward team of Frank Gordon for Mayor, and Rachel Berkey and Adam Weiner for Town Board, is committed to diversity. We intend to make our local government look more like the people it serves.
More information on the Moving Harrison Forward team can be found at www.movingharrisonforward.com.
Please help support our campaign by donating through our website or through https://secure.actblue.com/donate/mhf.
Frank, Rachel and Adam
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Paid for by Moving Harrison Forward
* Based on 2013-17 data. See https://planning.westchestergov.com/images/stories/pdfs/MunicipalProfiles1317/haracs20132017.pdf.
** Based on 2019-20 enrollment. See https://data.nysed.gov/enrollment.php?year=2020&instid=800000035425.