Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Gaza Comes to Richardson

Source: City of Richardson

The visitors' section was full. There was an overflow crowd. For ninety minutes Monday night, speaker after speaker came to the podium and made heartfelt pleas for the Richardson City Council to pass a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and to take measures to address the rise of Islamophobia in America.

Because the issue was not on the agenda, the Texas Open Meetings Act prohibited the City Council from deliberating the matter themselves Monday night. We'll see if they put something on the agenda for next week to get around that.

Issuing a statement is the least the City Council can do. There's a precedent. That's what it did in reaction to the "Black Lives Matter" protests in 2020. The City issued a Statement on Equality and Municipal Standard of Service.

As city leaders we stand with our community and nation in condemning incidents of violence and unequivocally wish to make clear that racism has no place in our city, or society. Due to recent events, we also wish to reinforce our steadfast commitment to maintaining a best-in-class Police Department that consistently applies humane and fair policing standards.

In the present, in an attempt to prevent violence from arising here in Richardson, the City Council should call for an end to violence elsewhere, especially the locus inspiring so much discord, Gaza. The City Council should also issue a statement condemning Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, stressing it won't be tolerated here. What a City Council says matters. could do nothing. But when so many community members come forward and plead for the City Council to do something, the public deserves at least an explanation why the City Council chooses to do nothing.

Let's face it. The City Council is between a rock and a hard place. Anything they say or do will dissatisfy someone. Doing nothing won't satisfy everyone, either. What a City Council doesn't say also matters. Right now, silence is an unsatisfactory stance to take.

In related news, UT-Dallas students have been actively engaged in (peaceful) political discussion about events in Gaza. How did UT-Dallas administrators respond? By closing down the platform used by the students — i.e., removing the campus's "Spirit Rocks." City of Richardson, don't be like UT-D.

1 comment:

Mark Steger said...

The City of Richardson issued the following statement today:

Statement on International Affairs
The following statement is being issued in recognition that current international affairs are important to the residents, other stakeholders, officials, and staff of the City of Richardson.
Post Date:12/07/2023 8:42 AM
The City of Richardson is a community that embraces its diversity and celebrates the heritage of people who have settled here from around the world. Our community aspires to be a place of harmony, where every individual is respected and valued, and violence is never tolerated.

We deplore all forms of prejudice and discrimination and denounce any bias or hostility towards any group of people. Discrimination of any kind is harmful and is contrary to our principles of equality and respect for diversity. We firmly believe in the fundamental rights, security, and dignity of every individual, and our vision for the future is one of peace for all.

Locally, we lead through our actions, demonstrating to the world what is attainable when harmony is embraced. Together, we can create a community where violence is not the answer, where hatred and intolerance are replaced by compassion and understanding, and where all people can live together peacefully. Let us continue to build a Richardson, and by extension a world, where the promise of unity and respect for all life flourishes.