Ocoee, FL, City Commission Meeting
5 March 2019
Joseph Richardson (233 words - 1:34)

Thank you for inviting me to give the invocation tonight on behalf of the Central Florida Freethought Community.

Tonight, I want to speak directly to you as the elected representatives of the people. I want to remind you of your duty, namely, to be advocates for every single citizen of Ocoee. And I want to remind you that your job is to make everyone who has come here tonight and, indeed, everyone who lives in this city, feel included.

Let this be an encouragement to reset your thoughts and intentions to the foundation of empathy and compassion, and to remember that every citizen is a person with their own thoughts and feelings who is equally deserving of your consideration.

At a time where divisiveness seems to be rampant, let your decisions here tonight run against that harmful current and include rather than exclude.

It’s neither a pithy quote nor deeply philosophical, but Franklin Roosevelt was unapologetically blunt when he said…

“We are trying to construct a more inclusive society. We are going to make a country in which no one is left out.”

And so, in that spirit, I encourage everyone here, as the work progresses, to put aside personal preferences, to evaluate hard data, to consider deeply the effects of decisions, to judge issues rationally, to debate respectfully, to decide fairly, and to continue to include everyone.

Thank you for your service.