MALONE — Two area healthcare providers issued a joint statement in response to the village’s police reform process, Monday.
The joint statement, from Citizen Advocates and St. Joseph’s Addiction Treatment & Recovery Centers indicates both groups are committed to the community’s public safety and strive to make lives better through the delivery of high-quality care.
“In this pursuit we are not competitors, we are collaborators,” the joint press release said, “Central to this shared mission is advocating for those in the community who are oppressed or marginalized.”
Joseph Riccio, director of communications and government affairs at Citizen Advocates, Inc., said the police reform process was an opportunity for both organizations to work together, when reached for comment on the joint statement.
“St. Joseph’s and us, we share the same passion for the work we do and this was an opportunity to team up with them,” Riccio said.
The joint press release states both organizations have a responsibility to not only acknowledge but eradicate the existing disparities in the North Country related to all forms of racism, discrimination, income inequality, mental illness, addiction and housing insecurity.
“Each of these factors, either individually or collectively, have a very real impact on the health outcomes for those who entrust us with their care,” the joint press release said.
Both Citizen Advocates and St. Joseph’s are grateful to have been included in the revision process for the village’s police reform plan, according to the joint statement.
The joint statement includes ten recommendations and action items the two organizations shared with the village of Malone.
Specific recommendations in the joint statement included, language in the village police reform plan recognizing that forms of systematic racism and institutional discrimination exist in the Malone Community, and that the community is committed to addressing these significant influences, in addition to the creation of stronger outreach attempts to obtain feedback from marginalized populations, including but not limited to people of color, Native Americans, and those living near or below the Federal Poverty Level.
An additional recommendation from the joint statement urged the inclusion of people of color, Native Americans, and people who live near or below the federal poverty level as marginalized groups, in addition to those struggling with housing insecurity, mental health, addiction, and disabilities.
According to the joint statement, both entities, Citizen Advocates and St. Joseph’s are willing to work with other partners moving forward.
“We stand firm in our commitment to collaborate with local and regional entities to provide the training and resources needed for addressing social and health inequalities in our community,” the joint press release said.
Trustees will vote on the final version of the Malone village’s police reform plan at a workshop, Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.
The village held meetings on Friday, March 26, and Monday, March 29, to discuss a revamped 22-page document on police reform for the Malone Village Police.
The two meetings follow a public hearing on Monday, March 22, where an original 13-page draft and its author Calvin Martin were roundly criticized by members of the public.
Martin’s draft referred to minorities in the community as few in number and transient, rather than long-term residents, while emphasizing the community’s French Canadian heritage.
Subsequent drafts of the plan compiled by the village, with the help of Karamarie Morton, lack the lengthy historical anecdotes of the original, but do include sections on focusing on public engagement, and a culture of accountability.