After weeks of discussion, the city of Brooklyn Park took a stand with a resolution declaring support for refugees, immigrants and Muslims that call Brooklyn Park "home."
The resolution was first introduced in February by council member Susan Pha. Originally, it generated disagreement, with some saying it was too political or lacked any teeth.
Monday night the council agreed the weeks of discussions sparked by the resolution ultimately helped to move the city forward.
The unanimous approval by the council came after about an hour of public comment. The majority of Brooklyn Park residents who spoke voiced support for the resolution, but Tonya Simons was one of the few in attendance who felt the resolution was unnecessary, even damaging.
"If you affirm this resolution, you're going to be perpetuating that myth
and that lie that one set of members of our community are
discriminating and targeting and acting with bigotry against other
members," said Simons.
Pha brought the resolution forward last month as fears rose on a national level in response to President Trump's executive order on immigration.
With the council's approval and adoption of the resolution, Pha expressed gratitude for the declaration of support and the validation it provides concerned residents.
"I know we have limited powers, we can't change federal laws, but we can do things here that can support them [residents]," said Pha. "This is a first step in saying we support you, we know what you're going through, we hear you, and this is how we're going to help you."
Since February, Brooklyn Park has been involved in nearly a dozen community meetings and conversations involving residents and city staff that seek to calm fears by bringing in experts on immigration law and members of law enforcement to answer questions.
Monday night, Brooklyn Park's mayor acknowledged that the resolution itself is just a piece of paper, unlikely to change lives, but it's the actions of the city that matter.
"It's knowing what the police are going to do, it's knowing what the schools are going to do. What the city is going to do and not do," said Lunde.
The mayor believes the resolution itself is just the capstone, the real gain came from the community discussions.
"I can't talk about federal policy, I have no sway over it. but I can help control want we do as a council, what our staff does, and what our police does," said Lunde.
Alexandra Renslo firstname.lastname@example.org
March 28, 2017