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© 2019 J.C. HURTADO-PRATER

Chula Vista - A Welcoming City

April 26, 2017

Tonight, the Chula Vista City Council unanimously voted to formally recognize Chula Vista - large, progressive border town - as a Welcoming City. While, legally nothing changes for our city, our city leaders - all of them - showed bravery in taking this monumental step in showing our nation and the world we will not be bullied by any person - especially by the leader of the free world. 

 

Most importantly, adopting this resolution reaffirms Chula Vista's commitment to all of its citizens, no matter the race, background, socioeconomic status, religion, creed, orientation; whether documented or undocumented. This is a city that embraces and empowers all it's citizen's. 

 

Read Jason's comments below. 

 

 

Good evening, Mayor Salas and members of the City Council. Thank you for this opportunity to speak. I stand before you this evening in support of the resolution for the City of Chula Vista to unite with Santa Clara County and the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles in joining the Welcoming America Network. Having spent a good deal of time on the Welcoming America website yesterday and this morning, I came across these words that help to describe their mission (and why I believe we should join them):

 

In a 21st century world, the strongest communities will be ones where all people can take part in economic, civic, and social life. These places (the cities and organizations who have joined the Welcoming America Network) show it is possible to go beyond fear and even tolerance for a bright future for all.

 

Just as fertile soil is needed for a seed to grow, welcoming communities foster a culture and policy environment that makes it possible for newcomers of all backgrounds to feel valued and to fully participate alongside their neighbors in the social, civic, and economic fabric of their adopted hometowns.

 

Like many people, I have been deeply saddened and shaken to core by recent events in our nation’s history. When just a few years ago in 2008, on a cool November evening, I stood with friends in West Los Angeles celebrating not only the election of a great man to the highest office in the country…we were also celebrating what that election meant for our country…. what that evening meant for women and men of all races, religions, backgrounds, creeds, orientations, nationalities…for minorities like me who – just 20 years ago – would never have imagined what we witnessed on that night. While we still had far to go, our country had made a huge stride in progressing forward. And THEN to witness the progress our country has continued to make in the past 3-4 years…

 

To have all of this come tumbling down… to have all of this threatened on November 8, 2016….it has been a very hard and surreal time for many of us who call ourselves proud Californians and proud Americans.

 

Adopting this resolution today – becoming a Welcoming City – is a powerful step our city leaders can take in letting our nation and our federal government know that we – Chula Vista – will always be a city open to every kind of citizen – every color, every race, every religion, every creed, every orientation – whether you are documented or undocumented – we welcome you here. And not only do we welcome you here, we fully accept and we fully embrace you here. You are part of the fabric and DNA of what makes Chula Vista great.

 

But, city council members and city leaders, let us not stop here. Let’s make sure our policing efforts continue to target actual illegal activity, not immigration status. Let’s make sure our incredible police department continues to police our community, NOT with mission of enforcing federal immigration law – but to simply care for our citizens. That our jail staff does not make immigration status an issue during arrest procedures. More importantly, I ask that our city leadership look into instituting a board or commission to provide oversight in this area of Chula Vista fully becoming a Welcoming City – that our policies and programs reflect a willingness and openness towards welcoming and integrating immigrants, refugees and all peoples in the Chula Vista community.

 

I love this city. In the relatively short time we have been here, my family and I have felt fully embraced and fully empowered by Chula Vista and the South Bay community. I want this same acceptance, embracement and empowerment for everyone.

 

I urge you…send a strong message and adopt this resolution tonight.

 

Thank you for this opportunity to speak.

 

-JCP

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