On Tuesday I stood with Councilmember Robert White to announce to our residents and the new administration that the District of Columbia will continue to be a bastion of human rights and work to protect the most vulnerable among us.
Like many residents, I have been anxious since November. Throughout last year’s presidential campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump promised policies that many brushed off as simple campaign rhetoric. In just the first few days of his presidency, he has confirmed that the bigotry, misogyny, racism, and xenophobia he espoused will guide his policymaking.
We as elected leaders must stand up on behalf of our residents. That’s why Councilmember White and I introduced the Sense of the Council Resolution in Reaffirmation of the Human Rights of District of Columbia Residents and in Opposition to Bigotry and Violence. This document sets forth the entire Council’s opposition to many of the policies that were promised by Donald Trump. And more importantly, that the Council of the District of Columbia will resist them.
As a Council, we resolved to:
- reject xenophobia, racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, disparagement of people with disabilities, misogyny, and bigotry in any form.
- not cooperate with any effort to force individuals to register with the government based on their national origin or religious identity.
- remain committed to our status as a sanctuary city and not participate in any federal immigration enforcement strategies that endanger those within our city.
- welcome refugees and those fleeing violence and persecution.
The Council spoke with a unified voice. Every member of the Council signed on as a co-introducer of these principles, which will now be sent to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
I also applaud Mayor Muriel Bowser’s efforts to reaffirm our sanctuary city status and set up the Immigrant Justice Legal Services Grant Program. Increasing access to attorneys for our immigrant neighbors will dramatically increase positive outcomes for them in immigration court.
More needs to be done. That same day I introduced two bills to make D.C. an even more welcoming city by providing immigrants greater access to our educational and electoral institutions.
I doubt that these recent announcements from the White House will be the last to threaten the well-being of residents of the District of Columbia. I commit to looking at every single way we can continue to protect our residents from the aggressions of the new administration and the Republican-controlled Congress. Engaging with your local officials, including myself, and our staff will be integral to this effort. I welcome and encourage your feedback.
We must stand together as a city. Protecting our human rights cannot be done alone. It must be the charge of all of our elected leaders and all of our residents. We must fight for each other. We must work for the most vulnerable among us. We must lift each other up. And we must love one another.
Read the full resolution adopted by the Council below: