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Council condemns racism, discrimination

click to enlarge Mayor Lionel Rivera
  • Mayor Lionel Rivera

I t may be just words on a piece of paper, but Colorado Springs City Council members and citizen activists congratulated each other Tuesday on the Council's unanimous passage of a resolution condemning racism and discrimination and promoting "goodwill" in the city.

The resolution was proposed by Citizens Project, a local activist group, in response to the recent campaign to distribute racist flyers in Colorado Springs by the National Alliance, a neo-Nazi group.

"While freedoms of speech and association are strongly respected in Colorado Springs, acts and practices intended to foster hate and discrimination are hereby condemned by City Council," the resolution reads in part.

Greg Borom, director of Citizens Project, said he was happy with the resolution, which also advocates "a fair, free, safe and friendly environment encouraging goodwill and mutual respect for all." The resolution did not identify the National Alliance by name, despite some previous discussion over whether the group should be clearly identified as the driving force behind the resolution.

Councilman Larry Small, one of the resolution's main proponents, said most city residents appreciate the positive contributions that increased diversity has made to the community.

"I think this resolution represents the point of view of the people of Colorado Springs," Small said.

Mayor Lionel Rivera said he "wholeheartedly" supported the resolution.

The chief criticism of the resolution came from Luis Cortez, a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens. Rather than simply passing a resolution, the city should adopt an enforceable hate-crimes ordinance, Cortez urged.

"The resolution is a paper tiger," he said.

Cortez also found it baffling that the resolution condemns discrimination based on "sexual orientation," when the council just four months ago voted to take away health-care benefits from same-sex partners of city employees.

A copy of the resolution will be posted in all city buildings.

Terje Langeland

  • Council condemns racism, discrimination

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