Statement from El Cerrito Mayor Greg LymanSpoken at the El Cerrito City Council meeting on Dec 6, 2016: El Cerrito’s greatest strength is our diverse community. In fact, “Inclusiveness and Respect for Diversity” is one of El Cerrito’s core values as identified in our City Strategic Plan. This means that we endeavor to treat others with dignity and respect;to be sensitive to the needs, concerns, and opinions of others;to incorporate and promote inclusiveness and diversity within everything we do;to encourage an environment where all individual differences are valued, respected, and welcomed; and to demonstrate compassion to all people.Recently in our City, in neighboring communities, and throughout the country, we have been challenged by intolerance, bigotry, and in some cases criminal activity based on hate. Community members have expressed fear and anger at these actions, and we as a City Council share those concerns. El Cerrito resolves to remain vigilant in our mission to promote tolerance and respect between all people, and will continue to seek avenues to further this mission in harmony with members of our community. El Cerrito condemns the recent hate crimes in our area, including the horrific murder of local musician Will Sims in El Sobrante on November 12th. El Cerrito does not tolerate prejudice, bigotry, racism, hatred, or violence, and we encourage anyone who has experienced an act of hate to report it to the El Cerrito Police Department immediately, where it will be fully investigated. The City’s Human Relations Commission has been involved in seeking areas to engage the community to promote tolerance and to stop hate, and would welcome input on this and other topics that promote understanding and inclusiveness surrounding the ideals of Sanctuary City. I encourage the community to consider attending the next meeting of the Commission tomorrow, here in City Hall at 7:00 p.m., or at any of their meetings on the first Wednesday of each month. I call your attention to the upcoming MLK march and rally on January 16, where the entire City will celebrate the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that all of us will not be judged by the color of our skin but on the content of our character. Finally, on the consent calendar this evening, the City Council will consider a proclamation declaring December 10 “Human Rights Day” and December “Human Rights Month” in El Cerrito, asking all of us to reaffirm our humanity by standing up for human rights in all facets of our lives and make a public commitment to speak up for tolerance and against prejudice. In short, we of El Cerrito, residents and staff, commit ourselves to uphold our core value of “Inclusiveness and Respect for Diversity” by resolving to be welcoming, compassionate, and inclusive to all people, to promote love and to stop hate, to stand up for human rights, and to work diligently to ensure that every member of our community feels accepted and safe.
Trump threatens to cut funds from sanctuary cities; Berkeley could lose $11.5M0By Frances DinkelspielJan. 25, 2017, 3:05 p.m.UC Berkeley students held a rally Dec. 9 to protest against threatened deportations. Photo: Anthony BertolliThe city of Berkeley could lose up to $11.5 million in federal funds if President Donald Trump goes through with his promise to punish sanctuary cities that refuse to comply with immigration law.Trump signed two executive orders on Wednesday dealing with immigration, including one to build a wall along the 2,000-mile-border between the U.S. and Mexico. Trump reiterated his promise that Mexico, not U.S. taxpayers, will pay for the wall even though the Mexican president has said his country will not pay a dime.Trump also promised to speed up the deportation of undocumented immigrants and punish those who interfered with the efforts.It’s unclear, however, just how bad the impact of the executive order will be for Berkeley and other sanctuary cities. The actual wording states that it is the policy of the executive branch to “ensure that jurisdictions that fail to comply with applicable Federal law do not receive Federal funds, except as mandated by law.” Which of Berkeley’s federal funds will qualify as “mandated by law” is an open question. Berkeley officials have been expecting an action that might threaten the money the city gets from the federal government. On Nov. 22, then Mayor-elect Jesse Arreguín held a press conference to make clear that he and the City Council will ensure Berkeley remains a sanctuary city, offering protection to immigrants and undocumented residents. Numerous city and school district officials joined with him at the press conference and pledged their dedication to Berkeley’s sanctuary status.On Wednesday, Arreguín sent out two tweets addressing the issue.Late today, Arreguín issued a collective press release denouncing Trump’s actions with the mayors of Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose,“Our values of human rights, equity, and inclusion have come under attack by the Trump Administration,” Arreguín said in the statement. “In just two days, Trump has pushed a divisive wall, stripped our citizens of civil liberties, and cut funding to cities that have the courage to stand up for all people – whether or not they are legal citizens. We will not be intimidated by threats to cut funding to cities that believe in the fundamental notion that no person is illegal. No amount of federal funding is worth betraying our values.”Donald Evans, the superintendent of BUSD, sent out an email this afternoon reiterating the district’s committment to protecting students who are undocumented. “Dear Berkeley Unified School District Families,We want you to know that we are committed to protecting the right of every student to attend public school, regardless of immigration status of the student or of the student’s family members.On December 7, 2016, the Berkeley Unified School District Board of Education adopted an official policy that provides protections to immigrant families and affirms the right of undocumented children to a public education. This right has also been upheld by the United States Supreme Court in a case called Plyler v. Doe.On January 25, 2017, the Board will adopt a resolution that reiterates its position that all students have the right to attend our public schools, regardless of the immigration status or religious affiliation of the student or of the student’s family members.Because it is our duty and responsibility to provide each child in our District with a high-quality public education in a safe and nurturing environment, we have given these directions to the staff at our schools: Our staff will not request information or make a record of information on the immigration status of a student or family member. Furthermore, students and families will not be required to provide a social security number for school forms.If the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency asks for access to a school or for access to student information, they will be politely denied and referred directly to the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services who will refer the matter to the District’s legal counsel.Anyone in our schools seeking answers to questions about immigration will be referred to local non-profit immigration law organizations, such as the East Bay Community Law Center and the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant or other recommended resources available on the district website.Our immigrant families are not the only ones who are concerned about possible changes in federal policies. We want you to know that our district rejects all discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity and expression, immigration status, disability and sexual orientation.The core values of our district continue to guide us through these times: Our students are our priority. We take pride in our diversity. We hold high expectations for ourse
Concerned about increasing threats to immigrant communities by several racially-fraught immigration policy positions advanced by the incoming federal administration,1 Demos and LatinoJustice PRLDEF are issuing this preliminary report on the ability of local communities to decide, based on their own form of local government, how they may enact polic