By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
On the day that “Dreamers” saw their American status slipping away, Bowling Green residents stood before City Council Tuesday and recited the city’s “welcoming and safe community” resolution in their native languages.
“In April, we brought a resolution to City Council about Bowling Green being a welcoming community for immigrants,” said Rev. Mary Jane Saunders, head of the city’s human relations commission, working with La Conexion.
The resolution proclaims “Bowling Green as a welcoming and safe community for immigrants and condemning any discrimination, harassment or unjustified deportation of immigrant residents of Bowling Green.”
To show the significance of the resolution, one by one, a group of city residents read a portion of the resolution in Vietnamese, Indian, Hindi, German, Chinese, Italian, Spanish and English.
The group also presented council with a “welcoming” poster designed by Ethan Jordan.
Beatriz Maya, of La Conexion, said other translations will be added to the city’s website as they become available. “This is a work in progress,” she said.
Mayor Dick Edwards praised the translations shared at the meeting. “What a special way of touching all of our hearts,” he said.
When City Council adopted the welcoming resolution earlier this year, council member Daniel Gordon pushed for the effort.
“I’m very happy with the language that we have here,” Gordon said. Though the issue of illegal immigrant deportations is national, the city wants to take a stand, he said. “Council does not support seeing their families ripped apart.”
Gordon said the resolution was written specifically with the immigrant population in mind. The city had recently passed an anti-Islamaphobia resolution, and already protected the LGBT community under a city ordinance.
Though undocumented immigration is a national issue, council member John Zanfardino said the city needs to take a stand locally.
“People are living with a new level of fear in Bowling Green and everywhere,” Zanfardino said earlier this year. “It’s a national nightmare.”
On Tuesday evening, Gordon asked council to take a stand to defend DACA.
“This is something we all should be able to rally behind,” he said.