Monday, a pared down version of the “full” Seattle City Council approved a resolution “condemning all forms of oppression throughout the world.”
The effort led by newly added council member Alex Pedersen, representing Northeast Seattle on the council, followed resolutions introduced earlier this month by District 3 representative Kshama Sawant on two major global issues — one on opposing war with Iran that was passed, and another condemning India’s new citizenship law which was tabled for a future vote.
Though clearly a response to Sawant and the council’s resolution process, Pedersen said Monday before the vote that his blanket resolution cites the council’s many past resolutions and was not meant to prevent future resolutions on human rights and global political issues. He also introduced an amendment to add a definition of the word “oppression” to the statement:
District 2 council member Tammy Morales was the sole vote against Pedersen’s effort. “We have to continue to lift up the voices of those who have been silenced to the margins when their oppression has been brought to our attention whether it’s locally, nationally, or internationally,” Morales said. “We can’t be silent when the issues of human rights are at stake.”
Council resolutions are defined formally as “a statement of policy that has been passed by the City Council, but is not legally binding.” They can be used to show intent or to give attention to a topic or issue at the city level. And, yes, they can be used and are frequently successful at driving press coverage.
Monday’s 4-1 vote came before a small turnout for the newly seated council that has adopted a schedule with fewer committee meetings and new quorum rules. Council president and citywide representative Lorena Gonzalez is out on parental leave and D3’s Sawant had a planned absence for the session.
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