Rockville Mayor and Council Support Refugees Around the World
Recognizing Rockville as a “welcoming and inclusive community,” the Mayor and Council voted unanimously this week to endorse Montgomery County’s support for refugees from Syria and from around the world.
The full motion said: “The Mayor and Council affirms Rockville’s role as a welcoming and inclusive community. We believe that the diversity of our residents enhances our city. We fully support Montgomery County’s promise to serve as a welcoming community for refugees, including those from Syria.”
The Mayor and Council’s symbolic statement was prompted by a letter from Rockville’s Human Rights Commission (HRC) that urged the Mayor and Council “to affirm publicly that Rockville stands ready to welcome refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war.”
The HRC letter called on the city to “take a stand for tolerance and humanitarianism,” that is counter to the position taken by some federal, state and municipal leaders nationwide, who, in recent weeks, said that Syrian refugees were not welcome in their communities.
“Rockville exemplifies the vibrancy that can be achieved when diversity is valued,” the HRC letter said. “Many in our community are former refugees who have fled humanitarian crises themselves, and have made Rockville stronger and more dynamic through their cultural and economic contributions to our city.”
Members of the HRC also testified before the Mayor and Council during the Community Forum portion of Monday’s meeting. Video of their testimony, the Mayor and Council vote and discussion of the statement, and the meeting in its entirety, can be viewed by visiting www.rockvillemd.gov/AgendaCenter and selecting the television icon next to the Dec. 7 meeting listing.
The motion approved by the Mayor and Council echoed a Nov. 24 letter, signed by County Executive Isiah Leggett and the entire County Council, to the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The county’s letter can be found at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council/news/pr/pr_details.html.