Council member Bothwell’s statement on passage of civil liberties resolution

From Asheville City Council member Cecil Bothwell:

Last night the Asheville City Council passed a resolution that I have been working on since I was elected to Council in 2009. This Civil Liberties Resolution calls for protecting civil liberties and strengthening community-police relations by adopting a policy that prohibits discrimination and profiling based on race, immigration status, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, ethnic origin, gender, religious or political affiliation, and homed or homeless status. The resolution passed by a unanimous vote.

When I first began working on drafting a civil liberties resolution for Asheville, I met with homeless advocates, with interfaith discussion groups, with representatives of Asheville’s Latino community, and with many other groups and community leaders in the area. As a result, we were able to draft a resolution that has been endorsed by numerous group and that is going to be very beneficial to the city of Asheville as a whole.

In addition to guaranteeing civil liberties and equal protection under the law, the Civil Liberties Resolution also protects residents and businesses who are not under criminal investigation from having information about their social, political, or religious views and activities collected, maintained, or distributed by City officials. Further, the resolution seeks to mend relations between the police force and immigrant community by excusing local police force from the responsibilities of federal immigration officials. I presented the resolution to City Council’s Public Safety Committee in April, and it was approved by the committee in June.

Prior to coming to the vote by City Council, the resolution was endorsed by the leaders and representatives of several civil liberties organizations, including leaders of Stand Against Racism; Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality; Sarah Nunez and the Asheville-Buncombe Community Relations Council; the WNC ACLU; representatives of Coalicion de Organizaciones Latino-Americanas; Rev. Amy Cantrell of the Beloved Community; Rabbi Rob Cabelli, formerly of Beth Israel Synagogue; the Bill of Rights Defense Committee; Occupy Asheville; Executive Director Lael Gray of the Jewish Community Center; Rev. Tyrone Greenlee of Christians for a United Community; and the Asheville Homeless Network.

When I am re-elected you can count on me to work to ensure that the provisions of this resolution are upheld and that every Ashevillian has the rights and liberties they deserve.

Thank you for your support!

Cecil Bothwell


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