Tybee Island leaders approve alternate resolution addressing racial equity, hold off on a mask mandate

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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – City council members adopted an alternate resolution addressing race equity while putting off a mask mandate for the island.

Last week, community leaders spoke to WSAV.com NOW about a proposed race equity resolution that would address Tybee Island’s racial history.

Council also had a discussion about a mandatory mask mandate on the island. Mayor Shirley Sessions said she would ultimately support a countywide mandate if Chatham County officials decided to implement one.

Mayor Sessions said she’s happy the council was able to have this discussion and come to an agreement.

“Right now, we are talking about Black Lives Matter,” said Sessions. “That is the subject nationally, locally and I think that should be reflected in our resolution.”

The original resolution, introduced by Council Member Nancy DeVetter, would address a number of areas including the creation of historical markers on the island to commemorate wade-ins during the 1960s amongst other events.

“We’ve had overwhelming community support,” said DeVetter. “So many people have been reaching out to me in support of this resolution telling me how important it is, telling me how impressed they are with Tybee for taking these steps.”

WSAV.com NOW obtained a copy of the alternative resolution that was drafted by Council Member John Branigin and was approved by council Thursday night.

Advocates for the original resolution gathered outside of City Council chambers ahead of the meeting to encourage council members to vote for the resolution.

Advocates who spoke to WSAV.com NOW say they’re disappointed the original resolution did not pass, but they say this resolution is a “step in the right direction.”

In attendance at Thursday night’s meeting was former Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson, historian Dr. Jamal Toure as well as other Tybee residents.

Those who spoke tonight shared their negative racial experiences and encouraged the council to support DeVetter’s resolution.

Also discussed during tonight was a lengthy discussion on short-term vacation rentals.

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