Rally Decries Council 'No' Vote on Bellingham's Immigrant Center
Friday, November 18, 2022
People rallied outside of Bellingham City Hall on Thursday to show support for a city-funded immigrant resource center. It's a response to a City Council vote of 4-3 earlier this week against including the center in the city's budget for the next two years.
Council members did vote in favor of hiring a facilitator to collect more data and create plans for a center in the future.
Sophia Rey, a high school student and member of the city's Immigrant Advisory Board, which has been developing plans for the center, said she feels the advisory board is being ignored.
"The messaging we're getting is that our stories and our lived experiences don't count as 'data,' or as reasonable claims to actually create this center," she said.
Rey said rally-goers delivered a petition with more than 1,000 signatures in support of the immigrant resource center to the mayor's office on Thursday.
Homero Jose, who spoke at the rally, said some people who come to the community don't speak English as a first language and face a communication barrier for such routine tasks as getting identification. A resource center could provide assistance. He also said it could serve as an important hub in a crisis, such as a flood.
"In times of emergency," he said, "I think people, their first call is to the resource center. 'Where can I get help?' People also can reach the center to say, 'How can I help?'"
Rey said folks are committed to the center and she's proud of the people who came out to the rally.
"Their support in our continued fight is proof that this sort of systemic change is possible," she said. "And everybody's voice - immigrants, whether they know the language or don't know the language, or even young folks like myself, high schoolers - we deserve a seat at the table."
get more stories like this via email
Lawmakers in the Commonwealth are considering legislation to ensure police use of facial-recognition technology also protects people's privacy and civ…
Next week, Ohio farmers and their advocates head to Washington, D.C., to push for shifting federal programs toward growing nutritious food, as …
Social justice advocates have just launched a new public education campaign. It's called "Just Safe," and it's aimed at changing the conversation …
Reducing the number of wildlife-vehicle collisions is the goal of a bill before the New Mexico Legislature this session. Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-…
A Nevada nonprofit is celebrating a 94% graduation rate among its high school seniors for the 2021-2022 school year. Tami Hance-Lehr. CEO and state …
Super Bowl LVII is right around the corner, which means Arizona will see hefty spending and wide exposure because of the massive sporting event…
Health and Wellness
It is not a pandemic yet, but eye doctors worry the constant use of digital devices could eventually result in long-term health problems for many …
Maine's small farmers are encouraged to complete the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture census to ensure they have a voice in federal decisions …