The City of Wauwatosa’s deputy city administrator has instructed city workers that they should avoid using red and green in public spaces to celebrate Christmas. Instead, top city officials are urging them to decorate counters with purple and blue and “snow people,” what the administrator appears to be calling snow men.
The email went out this week from Deputy City Administrator Melissa Cantarero Weiss. It also notes that City Administrator James Archambo is on board with the instructions.
Archambo earned $184,794 in 2022; Weiss earned $139,542. Neither are elected.
In it, she urged city workers to embrace “inclusive decorating practices” and make Wauwatosa’s municipal buildings a “place that everyone can feel comfortable visiting throughout the holiday season.” City workers were urged to “opt for more neutral and inclusive decorations.”
We received the email from multiple sources who questioned why Wauwatosa was making this a priority when the city has far more pressing issues. Even the White House doesn’t go that far; after all there is a National Christmas Tree. In addition, Wauwatosa’s mayor has confirmed the legitimacy of the Weiss email in his own email to the city’s Common Council.
In the email to city employees, Weiss wrote that “as the holiday season approaches,” she and Archambo are asking people to “reflect on our commitment to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment.”
She wrote that “currently, Christmas decorations are prevalent throughout public counters at City Hall and perhaps other buildings as well.”
“In our ongoing efforts to foster a more equitable and inclusive community, we believe it is crucial to be considerate of how we decorate public spaces during this season,” Weiss wrote.
Thus, she asked that departments “refrain from using religious decorations or solely associated with Christmas (such as red and green colors) when decorating public spaces within city buildings.”
Instead, she suggested city employees decorate public spaces with snowflakes, “snow people” and “other non-religious symbols associated with winter.” She also suggested “lights and greenery” without “specific religious connotations.”
Finally, she urged city workers to create displays showing the northern lights, incorporating “colors like blue, green and purple instead.”
Above all, she wrote, “Our goal is to foster inclusivity and respect.”
Update: Wauwatosa’s mayor has now sent out an email to the Common Council, confirming the legitimacy of the Weiss email. Here is his statement:
Ald. Andrew Meindl, who is running against the incumbent mayor, released this statement: