Westport Values On Display Downtown

The sign went up quietly recently, on the bank of the Saugatuck River by the Taylor Place parking lot.

(Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Under the heading “Westport Values” — and above photos including a multiracial family, one with 2 dads, an Asian American woman and a resident in his 90s — the text says that our town is “committed to fostering a civic culture that provides the equitable respect, belonging and treatment of all citizens, students, employees and visitors by its populace, government, schools, business and organizations.”

It mentions “races, ethnicities, religions, genders, abilities and LGBTQIA+,” but notes that the town’s civic culture commitment is not limited to those groups.

It adds: “Building on the richness of the past while acknowledging the challenges of its history, the Town of Westport commits to proactively making the town genuinely welcoming and inclusive.” (Click on or hover over the photo below to read the full statement.)

(Photo/Dan Woog)

A QR code brings up the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion page on the town website.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

Many residents don’t know the sign is there, or haven’t noticed it.

A few have contacted “06880” to applaud it. The town is taking a firm stand, they say, in a very public place.

A few others are not thrilled. They consider it unnecessary, or unnecessarily woke.

The sign is part of a continuing effort to add historical balance to town markers, and address past exclusions. Plaques have already been placed behind Town Hall, and on Elm Street near what was once a thriving African American neighborhood.

The new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plaque by the Saugatuck River. (Photo/Dan Woog)

23 responses to “Westport Values On Display Downtown

  1. Bruce Fernie SHS 1970

    Does the sign mention the minimum required income or net worth to be one of the ‘included’.
    Now that would really be ‘woked’.

  2. Susan Iseman

    Just look both ways when crossing the street to see it.

  3. Me thinks the lady doth protest too much.

  4. I wonder how our local government determined that all people currently living and working in Westport have the exact same values.

  5. Peter Mihalick

    Applaud the welcoming signs but totally unnecessary. The diversity of Westport residents is clear. Just go to the beach and witness it first hand. The money spent in these signs could have been better spent on helping Westport residents who are struggling financially to just exist in our costly to live town

  6. Michelle Garvey

    Representation is important. While the town isn’t very diverse economically for sure, it is more diverse in many ways than nearby communities and I for one applaud the conscious reminder of the importance and value of diversity.

  7. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70.

    Stop with the signs. Don’t you know you’ll go blind!!!

  8. Richard Vogel

    If you are feeling unsure of your thinking, just go read one of the signs to clear it all up for yourself.

  9. A fantastic message, so glad the town has put this up! Hope it helps inspire visitors from all walks of life to live in this wonderful town.

  10. Ellen Dale Naftalin

    Hallelulja! It doesn’t say evryone has the same values, it reminds us that those with differing values can co-exist. Words matter. We can talk it out.

  11. Gloria Gouveia

    Actions, not words.

  12. Todd g Tracy

    Show dont tell

  13. If we need reminding that we’re diverse, we’re probably not.

  14. Peter Mihalick

    Whose to say I need to be reminded? Certainly not the town government or someone who came up or heard a cute phrase

    • Apparently our government thinks its role is to remind you of what you (should) think.

  15. Peter Mihalick

    Not in this lifetime will I let the town government tell me what to think. I don’t need their signs to treat others with respect as I would expect them to respect me

  16. David J. Loffredo

    Diversity signs are great. Pat yourselves on the back some more. And then you should post one at the entrance to Compo.

  17. Excellent, I look forward to the town putting its money where its mouth is and voting to approve the new bill allowing equal access for all state residents to our town beaches.

  18. Interesting comments….all valid….I’m trying to figure this out myself…The Westport my grandparents, parents, and my sisters and I grew up in, we were simply taught to ” don’t disrespect the family” and “treat everyone with respect.” From what I’m hearing these sigs have something to do with “Sustainable Westport.” Can someone in an “non nasty” way explain if in fact this is true?

  19. Bill Strittmatter

    David and Bruce are probably right. It would be good to let the less affluent non-Westporters read what excellent values the people of Westport have after they are turned away from the beach (because….you know). And, letting them know the minimum income/net worth required to, as a practical matter, take advantage of Westport’s welcoming nature would be a public service keep them from wasting their gas in the future.

  20. I don’t get what is wrong with being “woke.”

    The song “Amazing Grace” says “I was lost but now am found/Was blind but now I see.”

    That’s what being ‘woke’ is: not blind, not lost.

    Most of the people complaining about wokeness would claim to be devout Christians. What is their problem? Do they think being lost and blind is a good thing?

    Or is “Amazing Grace” not Christian in spirit?

  21. Matthew Lechner

    values ? in Westport CT ? …. the town that encourages police to “look the other way” when senior citizens get raped the local nursing home ?

  22. Shouldn’t the plaque include images of a modest, affordable house being bulldozed – together with the bloated McMansion which took its place? Those would certainly reflect some of the actual Westport values of today.