The sign went up quietly recently, on the bank of the Saugatuck River by the Taylor Place parking lot.
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.)
A QR code brings up the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion page on the town website.
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.