A quest for equality united Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremonies for Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki and New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer, both elected last fall to another four-year term.
A city statement describing Wilmington’s event said that Purzycki believes that neither the pandemic nor any other obstacle “should get in the way of Wilmington moving forward on its mission to become a more Just City—where respect, equality and social and racial justice guide our hearts and actions every hour and every day.”
“Economic challenges are dooming too many children, essentially barring them from the classroom,” Meyer said in his address. “We have an obligation to acknowledge these inequities and prevent a whole generation from falling into a lifetime of risk. That is an obligation that extends beyond this pandemic. And the classroom is not the only place we have seen inequality.”
Purzycki, who had heart surgery last week, was sworn in at home, with his wife Bette beside him. Arlene Coppadge, a Family Court judge and friend, conducted the virtual ceremony, now available on YouTube.
Meyer was sworn in his office by Gregory Sleet, a retired federal judge and patent and corporate law expert.
After the oath, Purzycki said he is looking forward to “an elevated level of dialogue, understanding, cooperation and achievement” between the mayor’s office and City Council. Cooperation has been an issue of late.
“We are going to have to be even more creative about finding and agreeing to solutions to our problems as well as being a more united voice to promote all the wonderful attributes of our city,” he said.
In his address, Meyer said the issue of equality extends to access to health care, particularly for Black and Latino families, he said. “For our homeless population who for too long have not had access to quality mental and behavioral health and domestic abuse services, and for immigrants, for parents trying to afford basic child care, this pandemic has created an unfair and devastating divide.”
He highlighted several bold accomplishments to alleviate the pandemic, including converting a hotel into a homeless shelter with other social services; monitoring sewers for COVID-19; developing new methods to teach safely in a pandemic, with a partnership with DonorsChoose; and partnering with Delaware State University to create a next-generation genomics laboratory for what could be fast and cheap COVID-19 testing. The lab goes live next week.
“It is amazing the things we can accomplish, and the problems we can address with urgency when we come together,” Meyer said.