Today, I stood, with a group of about seven other Schenectady activists, in a Schenectady City Council Committee meeting, holding a sign that said “Prove You Represent Everyone.” The Council was set to discuss whether or not Schenectady should be a sanctuary city, and the discussion item was unexpectedly cut from the agenda — no matter. We stood there anyway, with our signs aloft, in the corner where the councilmen and women could see us.
You better believe we’ll be at the next City Council meeting on Monday, making sure our voices are heard loud and clear. They can delay a vote all they want — they can pretend that Schenectady shouldn’t have policies in place to deal with the concerns that our undocumented residents face — we’re still going to show up, at each and every Council meeting, in order to place pressure on the Council to do the right thing.
Our undocumented residents should not feel as if they are at risk of deportation simply because they were the victim of a crime, or a witness to one. A woman without papers who is abused by her partner should not have to fear that Schenectady police will contact ICE in order to have her deported, simply because she did the right thing and tried to get help. Schools should not be deputized by the federal government to identify which students and which parents don’t have their correct papers.
If the little suburb of Bethlehem could pass a resolution upholding their longstanding practice of not questioning the immigration status of anyone who comes to them for aid, if they can do the same in the city of Hudson, we can do it here in Schenectady.
All Schenectady residents who would like to make a difference are invited to attend Schenectady’s next City Council Meeting, Monday, February 27th, at 7 PM.
Don’t let Schenectady’s City Council forget that we are listening and watching. And come November, we will remember who voted for justice, and who didn’t.
photo: Wikipedia Commons, via GNU Free Documentation License