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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Board of Aldermen Promise to Watch Their Language

Members of the Board of Aldermen, Mayor Joe Curtatone with representatives from Centro Presente

At the October 25th gathering of the Board of Aldermen, the full Board, Mayor, and Representative Tim Toomey made a promise to undocumented citizens throughout the City of Somerville that they will be not subject to the description of "illegals."

In an amazing presentation, two members of Centro Presente told their personal stories of hearing the word describe members of their family in front of a packed Aldermanic Chambers on Thursday night.

The resolution was submitted by Ward 3 Alderman Tom Taylor and was sponsored by the entire Board of Aldermen and the Mayor. Ward 5 Alderman Sean O'Donovan personally thanked Taylor, as the son of immigrants, for submitting the legislation.

Watch video (00:12:44 timestamp)

The resolution reads as follows, "WHEREAS, The use of the word "illegals" and its derivatives when referring to people dehumanizes and divides communities; and

WHEREAS, The use of this term contributes to punitive and discriminatory actions aimed primarily at immigrants and communities of color; and

WHEREAS, The use of this term has the connotation of unjust discrimination; and

WHEREAS, The use of this term is hurtful and depressing to the immigrant community;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That the Somerville Mayor and the Board of Aldermen hereby declare that as a community, we refrain from the use of the word "illegals" and its derivatives when referring to immigrants within and outside the Somerville community, we affirm the dignity and basic human rights of all persons, and we promote the most basic values of racial equality, justice and unity for a brighter future for all people."

Representative Tim Toomey wrote (in part), "It is an unnecessary, hurtful word that for too long has been used to deride thousands of men, women, and children who share our community."

Representative Tim Toomey's Response

Editor's Note: Being on the information dispersion scene, I too make the same promise that the Board of Aldermen, Mayor and Representative Tim Toomey have made. I thank the speaking members of Centro Presente, not only for informing us that there is terminology that hurts, but the correct language to use. This change will not only impact my posting, but comment approvals, as well. As one of the first Somerville-based websites to include a translator, being accessible by all residents has been a core value of Ward 5 Online since its inception onto the online media scene in 2009. This is another way I can deliver news and information that is respectful of all members of our community. I thank all of my readers for their respect and encourage other media outlets to follow suite and make this promise! ~Courtney O'Keefe


Amy said...

This is fantastic.

Ward Five said...

Thanks, Amy!

I thought so too!

Anonymous said...

I wish every media source would make this promise. Thank you :)

Mama O'K said...

A Wonderful New resolution to keep the lines of communication open between neighbors and NOT hurt people have not Mastered the English Language as yet!!!