BY CATHERINE KRUMMEY
The Kirkland City Council received a standing ovation on Feb. 21 from a crowd of dozens of residents following the approval of a resolution reaffirming the council’s belief in equal rights for everyone.
The council also approved an ordinance that puts into law long-standing city policy of providing everyone in Kirkland (residents, employees and visitors) with the full range of city services (including police) without discrimination based on immigration status or race.
“Kirkland and the Eastside will not tolerate hate,” Deputy Mayor Jay Arnold said before voting to approve both items.
The resolution and ordinance came before the council a month after Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen signed a proclamation expressing similar sentiments at the Jan. 3 council meeting.
At the beginning of the Feb. 21 meeting, the council received a petition signed by more than 750 people in support of the earlier proclamation.
Before the council voted on the ordinance and resolution, more than a dozen people came forward in support of the city’s efforts, with some happy to see that the city wasn’t going to become a sanctuary city and others wanting sanctuary status for Kirkland.
“Thank you for making this a reality,” Chris Moody told the council during the public hearing.
“I especially really support the part that prevents the collection of religious information,” Kirkland resident David Greschler said, recounting his family’s history during the Holocaust.
“Thank you for all of your support,” Walen said to those in attendance.
Members of the council have made it clear that they want to take these sentiments beyond words and engage the entire Kirkland population to make sure everyone feels safe and welcome in the city. They plan to have council conversations about issues relating to the proclamation, resolution and ordinance later this year.
“This conversation is just the beginning,” Councilmember Penny Sweet said.
Originally published in the Kirkland Reporter at http://www.kirklandreporter.com/news/kirkland-city-council-receives-community-support-for-inclusive-city-ordinance/