When I say that I support Nasreen Sheikh-Yousef’s right to speak her mind, I mean just that. I will not tell her what to say, how and where to say it, tell her what she means or what she meant to say.

And yet, many in our city – including private citizens, public officials and former public officials – are telling me what I should and should not do and say, and what I “really” meant.

Since taking office, I have noticed something interesting happens whenever I take a position that is not in full agreement with those who have centered themselves as the traditional power-holders and decision-makers in this city. I am told I am “wrong,” “misinformed,” “not smart enough,” “not qualified” and so on. Those who are used to having the loudest, and often only, voice in the room cannot seem to comprehend that others may see the world differently and come to different conclusions.

I will not apologize for my words of support and compassion for Charter Commissioner-elect Sheikh-Yousef. I believe in building relationships, trust and mentoring. I have had many conversations with fellow elected officials, candidates and constituents that are not for public consumption. I will not be badgered into betraying the trust of private conversations.

Finally, I am not a scorecard. I am capable of independent thought, influenced by both my formal education and my own lived experience. I will continue to listen and work on behalf of the people of Portland, as I was elected to do.

April Fournier
at-large representative, City Council
Portland

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