More than one month after violent clashes between white supremacists and protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia, members of the Grover Beach City Council passed a declaration affirming the city's commitment to issues of equality and human rights.
"We live in very anxious times," said Mayor John Shoals. "We have seen some conduct that has spawned quite a bit of debate and discussion, and I think this is just a clear policy statement of how we certainly would hope folks would conduct themselves."
The declaration, passed unanimously at the council's Sept. 18 meeting, affirms the city's support of fundamental and equal human rights regardless of race, gender, nationality, religion, or sexual orientation.
"The City Council of the city of Grover Beach hereby affirms that these rights will be one of the core principles guiding all governing actions within our community, and any violation of these basic human and civil rights will not be tolerated by the governing body of this community," the resolution stated.
Councilwoman Debbie Peterson was not in attendance at the meeting.
The idea for the resolution was first brought up when Grover Beach resident Mike Wilson read a similar statement during the public comment period of the council's Feb. 6 meeting. At a subsequent Aug. 21 meeting, Shoals, one of the few black elected officials in SLO County, referenced Wilson's statement in comments about the violence in Charlottesville at an Aug. 21 meeting and, along with the other council members, asked city staff to place the declaration on the agenda for a future meeting. City Manager Matthew Bronson said that the final language of the declaration remained largely unchanged from what Wilson had originally read to the council.
"Everything here is pretty much verbatim to what was shared by Mr. Wilson," Bronson said.
At the Sept. 18 meeting, Wilson thanked the board for passing the resolution, but noted that it took a national tragedy like Charlottesville to shed light on the issue of human rights.
"It breaks my heart that this has to come back into our consciousness because of the last few months," he said. Δ