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City adopts resolution to support Muslim community

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 12/14/2015

City adopts resolution to support Muslim community

SEATTLE – The Seattle City Council today adopted a resolution in support of Seattle’s Muslim community and speaking out against the rise in hateful rhetoric and violence targeting Muslims.

“We must never allow a religious test for families seeking refuge in the United States or in Seattle,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Since our nation was founded, America has always stood as a beacon of freedom and religious pluralism. We stand united in opposition to racism and bigotry that targets any faith community.”

Approximately 100,000 Muslims call Washington State home, where they serve our community in every walk of life — as doctors, police officers and school teachers.

“Elected leaders hold a responsibility to speak truth against the anti-Muslim hate rhetoric and violence increasing in the national discourse,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess. “The City of Seattle welcomes and affirms our Muslim residents, both native born and immigrant, and recognizes the enormous value they add to the cultural and economic life of this city. When we respond from fear, we respond from weakness. We all want our community to be safe, but fear does not lead to safety.”

The resolution encourages Seattle residents to take extra efforts to ensure the safety of their Muslim neighbors, and encourages all City departments to direct appropriate resources to supporting those targeted by hate speech and hate crimes.

“I came to this country as a refugee from Viet Nam with my family in 1975, fleeing war like today’s Syrian refugees,” said Cuc Vu, director of Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. “This resolution truly reflects who we are as a city. Seattle and Washington State have long been a welcoming home for immigrants and refugees, benefiting our economy and our culture. It is very important that government do all it can, now as we have for centuries, as a beacon of home for those in need.”

A RESOLUTION declaring support for Muslim communities, affirming the religious pluralism of the United States, and urging Seattle residents to stand together for peace and understanding.

WHEREAS, Muslims are part of our society and, inspired by their faith, give back every day as U.S. military personnel, police officers, doctors, nurses, caregivers, teachers, and in many other roles contributing to the success of the United States of America and the City of Seattle; and

WHEREAS, our nation’s founding documents emphasize the freedom of religion and a society that embraces religious pluralism; and

WHEREAS, The City of Seattle values the many different cultures, religions and traditions our residents embrace; and

WHEREAS, The City of Seattle continues to work toward a more inclusive society and welcomes cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity; and

WHEREAS, Muslims, both native born and immigrant, represent an increasingly important thread in the tapestry of American society; and

WHEREAS, the Muslim population in Washington State is estimated to be approximately 100,000 people, many thousands of whom live in Seattle, and who share the same American values and freedoms that we all cherish; and

WHEREAS, a significant percentage of Seattle’s immigrants and refugees are Muslim and have come to Seattle seeking a safe place to work, study or raise a family; and

WHEREAS, throughout history the United States has welcomed wave after wave of immigrants and refugees who add enormous value to the economic and cultural life of our nation; and

WHEREAS, presently, anti-Muslim rhetoric has increased in the national discourse and rates of hate violence targeting Muslim families and children are at record highs across our nation, which is detrimental to all people who cherish freedom and liberty; and

WHEREAS, some of the darkest moments in our nation and our city’s history have emerged from similar climates of fear; and

WHEREAS, this fear-based rhetoric distorts the reality of terrorism in the United States, where more individuals have been killed since September 11, 2001 by those who espouse other extremist ideologies like white supremacy or antigovernment fanatics than by those who espouse a perverted form of Islam; and

WHEREAS, hateful rhetoric only enables extremist ideologies to flourish in the dark corners of global society; and

WHEREAS, The City of Seattle finds this anti-Muslim rhetoric and hate violence to be against American principles of religious freedom and fairness and contrary to the vision we hold as a nation that welcomes all people; and

WHEREAS, all of Seattle’s residents deserve to live in a safe environment free of hate and discrimination; and

WHEREAS, The City of Seattle wishes to extend the traditional Islamic greeting of “Peace be upon you” to all of its Muslim residents and visitors; NOW, THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SEATTLE, THE MAYOR CONCURRING, THAT:

Section 1. The City of Seattle does not tolerate anti-Muslim hate speech and violent acts committed against those who are Muslim or perceived as being Muslim, their places of worship, businesses, schools, and community centers. These are in direct contradiction to values of The City of Seattle and our open American way of life. We encourage our residents to recognize and celebrate the cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity that is represented in our City. We encourage residents to take extra efforts to ensure the safety of their Muslim neighbors. We encourage all City departments to direct appropriate attention and resources to supporting those targeted by hate speech and hate crimes.

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Murray, Councilmembers seek increased investment in youth arts programming, cultural space preservation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 9/25/2015

Murray, Councilmembers seek increased investment in youth arts programming, cultural space preservation

SEATTLE – Today Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess and Seattle City Council Budget Chair Nick Licata announced a proposal to increase the City’s investment in youth arts education and preservation of cultural spaces.

“Seattle is stepping up and providing arts education in schools that have not had it in years,” said Murray. “This investment aligns new and expanding programming with my vision for a vibrant, equitable city. Every child must have the same opportunity to learn through the arts and every resident must have access to the creative economy.”

Murray, Burgess and Licata are endorsing an increase in funding to the Office of Arts & Culture from the existing admissions tax levied on tickets at entertainment venues. The increased allocation from seventy-five percent to eighty percent of the admissions tax will add $400,000 per year for arts in the City budget. The mayor will introduce his full budget on Monday.

“As our city grows, we must invest in the culture of Seattle that has given us our unique identity and strength,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess. “Seattle is the entertainment and cultural center of the Pacific Northwest. Let’s make certain we provide strong public support for this vital sector of our economy.”

“Having requested this increase at the urging of the Seattle Arts Commission when I met with the Mayor in August of 2014, I am grateful to see him include it in his 2016 budget,” said Councilmember Nick Licata. “I urge Mayor Murray to work toward raising it to one hundred percent in the following years. The pressing need for affordable cultural space, quality arts education, and the imagination working artists bring to our city will not lessen anytime soon.”

The increase will fund expansion of The Creative Advantage and other education initiatives that support work readiness and job training through the arts. Creative Advantage brings together the City of Seattle, Seattle Public Schools, private nonprofit organizations, and the philanthropic sector to expand the availability of arts education in the schools.

Studies show that at-risk youth who have access to the arts in or out of school tend to have better academic results, better workplace opportunities and more civic engagement. Arts-infused learning in reading and math helps close the achievement gap between low-income children and children of color in comparison to white and more affluent students.

The mayor’s budget will also provide additional grant funding to support retention of arts and ethnic cultural spaces in our neighborhoods. Cultural spaces ensure neighborhood livability and vibrancy, and are anchors for many communities, including immigrant and refugees.

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Council President Burgess’ Statement on Disciplinary Decision by Chief O’Toole

City of Seattle
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 9/15/2015

Council President Burgess’ Statement on Disciplinary Decision by Chief O’Toole

SEATTLECouncil President Tim Burgess issued the following statement in response to the decision of Seattle Police Department Chief Kathleen O’Toole to fire Officer Cynthia Whitlatch:

“The Chief of Police has sent a strong and appropriate signal. Officer behavior that compromises public trust is not acceptable in Seattle.

“When the Council confirmed Chief O’Toole last year, we expected her to set a high bar for our officers. Since that time, Chief O’Toole has taken strong measures to create a culture of effective and constitutional policing and to restore pride within the department.

“Public trust and confidence in the police is necessary for effective policing and public safety. Respectful and responsible day-to-day encounters between police officers and the public are the basis of this trust.

“I appreciate the Chief’s strong and decisive leadership and I value the efforts of the women and men of the police department who work every day to keep our community safe.”

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Council President Burgess, Councilmembers Rasmussen and Godden release statement on Seawall project

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 8/21/2015
Council President Burgess, Councilmembers Rasmussen and Godden release statement on Seawall project
SEATTLE – Council President Tim Burgess, transportation committee chair Tom Rasmussen and Alaskan Way seawall commi…

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Council President Burgess’ Statement on Seattle Public Schools Decision to Operate Seattle Preschool Program Classrooms

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 8/19/2015
Council President Burgess’ Statement on Seattle Public Schools Decision to Operate Seattle Preschool Program Classrooms
SEATTLE – Council President Tim Burgess issued the following statement in response to the decis…

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Council President Burgess’ statement on the passage of gun safety measures

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 8/10/2015
Council President Burgess’ statement on the passage of gun safety measures
SEATTLE – Council President Tim Burgess issued the following statement today after the Full Council unanimously voted to approve the gun vio…

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Councilmembers Issue Statements on Death of Donnie Chin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 7/25/2015
Councilmembers Issue Statements on Death of Donnie Chin
SEATTLE – Council President Tim Burgess, Councilmember Bruce Harrell and Councilmember John Okamoto issued the following statements in response to the tragic d…

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Statement on Burgess proposal on firearms and ammunition tax

City of Seattle
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 7/8/2015

Statement on Burgess proposal on firearms and ammunition tax

SEATTLE – Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement after Councilmember Tim Burgess unveiled his proposal for a tax on firearms and ammunition sales to fund gun violence prevention efforts:

“Every year in Seattle gun violence devastates hundreds of lives – both the victims of murders, assaults and suicides, as well as the family members struggling to make sense of the devastation. While high-profile incidents attract national attention from time to time, tragedies unfold in our community far too often. Our community will not stand by as our youth, particularly youth of color, continue to pay the highest price for inaction on gun violence at the national and state level.

“I want to thank Councilmember Burgess for his leadership. This proposal provides critical funding for gun violence research and prevention. We will have more resources to support youth education and other efforts that we know help prevent guns violence in our streets. For too long, we have had insufficient research and data on gun violence in Seattle to help guide our response.

“We know the people of Seattle demand action on this issue, not more talk. Last year at the ballot box, voters approved greater accountability in background checks for gun sales. This proposal builds on that momentum by funding more tools to reduce the devastating impacts that guns have on our community.”

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Council to Act on Gun Violence Tax, Mandatory Reporting of Lost and Stolen Firearms

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 7/8/2015
Council to Act on Gun Violence Tax,
Mandatory Reporting of Lost and Stolen Firearms
SEATTLE – Council President Tim Burgess proposed two pieces of legislation today as part of the City’s latest effort to improve g…

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Councilmembers Call for New Plan to Manage Population Growth, Address Displacement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6/19/2015
Councilmembers Call for New Plan to Manage Population Growth, Address Displacement
SEATTLE – Seattle is expected to gain 120,000 new residents and 115,000 new jobs by the year 2035, and the City is in the midst of a…

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