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Community leaders begin efforts toward Capitol Hill ‘sanctuary neighborhood’

img_9967-2-1Elected officials have reaffirmed Seattle as a “sanctuary city” following the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, and now Capitol Hill community leaders want to take actions to further establish the neighborhood as welcoming and safe.

“We’re thinking about … what are some of the tactics that we can be explicit about,” Capitol Hill Community Council President Zachary DeWolf told CHS.

The group’s approach aims to provide sanctuary for people being harassed or discriminated against, educate and activate community members, and raise awareness.

What exactly that will look like and entail is yet to be determined, DeWolf cautioned but provided some ideas the group leading the effort, consisting of representatives from CHCC, the faith community, the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, Capitol Hill Housing, and Capitol Hill Eco-District, is interested in exploring.

The idea of making Capitol Hill a sanctuary neighborhood is more about taking action to show what the community’s values are rather than showing what it’s against, DeWolf said.

The conversation locally started with, Greg Turk, pastor at All Pilgrims Christian Church, meeting with Paul Corner, pastor of the First Covenant Church. While state elected officials declared Washington state a hate-free zone, the pastors wanted to explore what could be done locally and decided to bring other organizations to the discussion.

“So they kind of began the conversation around, ‘Hey what can we do that feels like we’re for something,’” DeWolf said.

One idea the group discussed as a pillar of a sanctuary neighborhood is establishing sanctuary spaces maybe at churches and businesses — emotional sanctuaries where people can be together and safe from harassment.

Another possible part could be programming likely lead by the community council to have “complex conversations” — maybe an interfaith panel or an intro to Islam discussion — and trainings on violence and prejudice.

DeWolf also said they could also “literally (put) a stake in the ground” with yard signs like those popping up around the nation saying: “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor,” in English, Spanish, and Arabic.

But with these ideas could morph into other plans as the group moves forward. DeWolf also said the organizations don’t want to duplicate efforts that are already happening such as Safe Place, Love in Action and others. Instead, the sanctuary neighborhood effort wants to bolster and support them.

The group plans to hold a meeting to shape the effort early this year.

“We have great people here and people who are very passionate about maintaining the traditions and values of Capitol Hill,” Turk said.img_9989-2


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9 thoughts on “Community leaders begin efforts toward Capitol Hill ‘sanctuary neighborhood’

  1. Please so called leaders, speak for yourselves. We don’t need grandstanding by self-proclaimed representatives of the just and true. Some of us who have lived her for our lives or decades are nice decent people who do not agree with the agenda of what is in essence a waste of ink. By all means people who are obeying the law deserve respect and do not deserve to be harassed or abused. But there are laws on the books already. And the city and Capitol Hill have no role in some of the areas that people wish to proclaim sanctuary status on, which is a term that is widely subject to interpretation.

    Where we may likely differ is that many of us, liberals included, is on the tolerance and endorsement of illegal aliens being being welcome and supported. Note that I distinguish these people from immigrants, which means those here legally. Illegal aliens are not immigrants and their rights are limited. If those who support looking the other way are consistent, I assume they would not mind opening up the borders and allowing in the hundreds of millions of people in the world who live in relatively less happy places than the US, which offers more economic and political freedoms. Or does this just apply to those who overstay a visa or sneak across a border? I loathe Trump but also like many liberals, want to see our immigration laws enforced, including prosecuting employers who illegally employ people, and sending home those who are not legally here. And with specific reference to Mexico, this is not a country that is lawless or a horrible place by any standards. Yes there are poor in Mexico but there are poor in the US. Life is tough but we have borders for a reason. The current situation is an insult to those who play by the rules. Our mayor is alienating many by his own grandstanding on the topic.

    • You ask an excellent question. What is the way forward on immigration?

      Do we allow all people who come in without papers to stay, basically making it a game show – if you can manage to sneak you way in you get to stay? At what point is there even a point of bothering with immigration law?

      Do we just abolish the border altogether and allow people to come and go at will (maybe not a terrible idea)?

      The right says build a wall, but what does the left say?

    • At the risk of no one every seeing this post again, I will venture a brief, broadly stated reply to the above. Immigrating to this country in the legally prescribed way requires either money or a connection to someone willing to provide housing and other resources while the newly arrived person goes through the process of obtaining a green card and permission to work (which can take months or years). At present, there is no legal immigration mechanism for those who possess nothing but their labor power. No one with a real choice ever chooses to immigrate illegally, which is why many people, myself included, refuse to differentiate between “legal” and “illegal” immigration. Fixing this untenable state of affairs is what “comprehensive immigration reform” is all about.

      Furthermore, there’s a good reason why even the most die-hard supporters of strict immigration enforcement should also support “sanctuary city” resolutions. Local law enforcement is charged with preventing and solving individual crimes against people and property. They can only do this if they have the trust of the entire population including those who are here without documentation. People are not going to cooperate with local police if they fear being deported for doing so. Therefore, keeping immigration enforcement entirely separate from criminal law enforcement is essential to preserving that trust. Hope that helps.

  2. I like that Capital Hill will be a sanctuary neighborhood. Nothing in the statement above spoke to what @You Don’t Speak for Others is communicating in his/her post. I think some understanding and education would be good in regards to immigration and illegal status aliens. Some of our laws are built on old values and need to change. By being a sanctuary city and neighborhood we recognize that our values have changed versus the laws of the lands. That’s ok. People have rights to disagree. The neighborhood agrees with the sanctuary part (minus a few amongst us). But we also had some Trump voters on the hill for whatever that’s worth.

  3. One idea the group discussed as a pillar of a sanctuary neighborhood is establishing sanctuary spaces maybe at churches and businesses — emotional sanctuaries where people can be together and safe from harassment.

    Aren’t these places already “emotional sanctuaries”? It’s always been illegal to harass somebody in this country. These proposals sound like they were crafted by traumatized 4th graders.

  4. City; “We declare Seattle a Sanctuary City”
    Capitol Hill Leaders; “Our Sanctuary is more Sanctuary than your Sanctuary.”

    The most progressive politically active 3000 or so people out of the 600,000 who live in Seattle will now feel gratified. Meanwhile, no one seems to expect the governments of Central America or Mexico to actually improve the lives of their own people.