Statement Supporting a Diverse and Safe Community

[NOTE: What follows is a public statement I made as Mayor on behalf of the City Council of Iowa City. It was issued as a press release on November 17, 2016.]

Over the past week, a number of intimidating acts have been directed toward definable groups of Iowa Citians. Monday’s incident involving an intimidating message being posted on the door of a Sudanese family exemplifies the point. As a result of this and related acts, many residents are feeling increasingly fearful and threatened.

We on the City Council understand that Iowa City residents have strong feelings about the results of the November 8 election. Some Iowa Citians are feeling profoundly shocked and grief-stricken; others are feeling pleased.

Thoughtful and respectful dialogue and debate about controversial issues is appropriate. It is part of the democratic spirit of engagement that has long been part of life in Iowa City.

Verbal and physical acts that threaten or intimidate people with whom one disagrees are not part of our culture. They do not reflect who we are.

We celebrate our community’s diversity, and we welcome all residents who live here, regardless of their national origin, color, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

We are committed to our City Charter, the human rights provisions of our City Code, and the provisions of the U. S. Constitution that protect civil liberties and provide equal protection under the law.

We strongly condemn any political rhetoric, regardless of viewpoint, that involves threatening or intimidating language.

We strongly condemn any actions that involve the threat or fact of physical harm to others.

On behalf of the City Council, I urge every member of our community to uphold our shared values of compassion, inclusion, respect, and dignity, and to continue building an environment in which everyone is valued and everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

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