The Lincoln City Council has passed a resolution affirming the city’s commitment to civil rights, safety and dignity for all citizens. The sponsor, councilman Carl Eskridge, called in the resolution for five specific things: Speaking out against acts of bullying, discrimination and hate violence, and standing up for those targeted by any of those acts. It also calls for the city to respect all human rights, partner with other groups in support of human rights, to promote diversity, oppose attempts to undermine individual rights, and to not tolerate discrimination, harassment, or hate based crimes. The resolution passed unanimously.
Speaking in support of his resolution, Eskridge made it clear that the language referring to “the city” does not mean only City Employees and Departments. “City is everybody” he said. “City includes everybody in this community. Council, City Employees, Businesses, Community leaders, Schools, Churches and other religious groups, it’s families. It’s everybody in this community.”
The other four council members in attendance at Monday’s meeting took turns supporting the resolution.
Leirion Gaylor Baird said the resolution is “important for the future of our community.” Jayne Raybould said “We’re very proud of who we’ve become as a city. This resolution reaffirms our commitment to everyone’s civil rights and the dignity of all.”
Councilman Bennie Shobe said he was born and raised in Kentucky, but is now a Nebraskan by choice. “Nebraska’s not perfect yet, but we’re working hard to get there, and that’s what this resolution says. We’re going to re-affirm our commitment to make Nebraska one of the best places in the world for anyone.”
Council Chair Roy Christensen said he’s received feedback from some people in the past week that indicated they felt the anti-hate resolution would actually supress free speech. He said nothing could be further from the truth: “Free speech cannot take place when someone speaks out and tells us their mind and then they are the recipient of anger and hate. We need to separate anger from public discourse.”
Council Members Jon Camp and Cindy Lamm were absent from today’s meeting, so the resolution passed 5-0.