Park Central Square fountain

Downtown Springfield Association statement on diversity and inclusion, June 2020

June 19, 2020

Downtown Springfield is where our community comes together in good times and bad. In light of recent events, the Downtown Springfield Association feels it’s important for us to say that our neighborhood is for everyone and Black lives matter to the DSA.

Park Central Square is an open and visible forum for the exercise of First Amendment rights of free speech and peaceful assembly. Over the past two centuries, community groups have chosen the Square as the site to host the 50th anniversary celebration of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, hundreds of impromptu protests and countless local festivals.

The Springfield Community Remembrance Coalition and the Equal Justice Initiative recognized the not so honorable history associated with our public square with the placement of an historical marker on the southeast corner of the Square last year. It was an important step in honoring the lives of Horace B. Duncan, Fred Coker and William Allen, three innocent black men tragically lynched in 1906, and all people impacted by racism in our community.

The most recent example of the exercise of free speech and peaceful assembly was the “Black Lives Matter” demonstration held this month to condemn excessive force by police nationwide, as well as amplify the voices of a broad cross-section of American citizens and residents condemning the nation’s historic and current systemic racism.  These examples of community engagement and the promotion of cultural consciousness assist in the healing process as well as the elimination of systematic racism and its adverse impacts on all Americans, but most importantly people of color.

But we recognize that is not enough. There is still much work to be done. We must listen to those who are hurting. We must educate ourselves and connect with anti-racist resources. We must disrupt racism and commit to not turn a blind eye.

 The Downtown Springfield Association endeavors to do more to support our underrepresented, underserved, and under-resourced citizens and residents, including people of color, immediately through:

  • Expanding our years of working with Minorities in Business to find tangible things we can do to recruit new entrepreneurs and support underrepresented business owners.
  • Reaching out to diverse organizations with direct invitations to participate in our iconic community events.
  • Assisting the City of Springfield, Greene County and the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce in facilitating discussions to add more diverse representation to boards, committees and task forces that will shape the next chapter of Downtown’s unfolding story.

We are here to listen to you and to join with you in these and more efforts to promote access, equity and inclusion. Never hesitate to reach out to us with any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions on how we can make Springfield’s neighborhood a safe, welcoming and inclusive place for all.