Belfast Resolve Welcoming City Proposal
This petition had 221 supporters
We are BelFem, a group working on a new initiative for our community: a city-wide resolution that aims to affirm Belfast, Maine’s commitment to inclusivity, diversity, respect, dignity and security for residents and visitors to this city.
The resolution is a response to concerns--our own and many others in our community--that have come into sharp focus in this election season, bearing out of language, behavior, proposed and actual policies, which have incited fear and deep concern with people in Maine, and especially within some of our most vulnerable communities: women, people of color, immigrants, undocumented residents, the economically disadvantaged and the LGBTQ community.
As proud residents of Belfast, we are inspired by other local and national cities/town's adoption of similar resolutions--including Hallowell and Appleton--and would like to make a declaration of our own values and commitments to stand up for one another. A small city and county seat, Belfast takes pride in our historic downtown, our creative and cultural scene, the strength of our local businesses, our working waterfront and our connectedness to the agricultural life of Waldo County and the larger ecosystem of Penobscot Bay.
We want to make it known that Belfast believes in standing up for ALL of its residents to pursue a happy life with safety, security and dignity--and we’d like to make a formal declaration of these values and commitments to each other.
WHEREAS, America and the world have seen that individual or systemic acts of intolerance toward others engender only further hostility, discord and destruction of lives; and
WHEREAS, the City of Belfast supports the civil liberties and human rights of all people without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, gender, gender identity and expression, age, ability, citizenship or immigration status, and will not deny services to any individual based upon these criteria;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the city of Belfast, Maine is a community that welcomes all. We celebrate difference, diversity and individuality among residents, workers and visitors. We are the home of the Armistice Bridge (aka “the Footbridge”). We build bridges here, not walls; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That we will stand up for women’s rights, whether in healthcare, the workplace, or any other area threatened by anyone who treats women or girls as objects to be harassed, demeaned or assaulted; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That Belfast embraces the diverse spectrum of the LGBTQ community and will uphold all rights, including Marriage Equality, which Maine voters passed in 2012. And to all the LGBTQ people in our city, the state of Maine and beyond who feel scared, bullied, or alone: You matter. You are seen; you are loved; Belfast has Pride and will stand up for you; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That we uphold this nation’s founding principle of religious freedom. We welcome people of all faiths to this community and to practice those faiths freely and as their conscience dictates; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That Black Lives Matter in Belfast, Maine. We recognize the existence of systemic racism, that racism and xenophobia must not go unchallenged, and that all instances of it must be unequivocally condemned and combated. We will continue working with our law enforcement agencies to facilitate trust between police and our citizens, including diversity training and harm reduction, with the goal of all residents, workers and visitors feeling secure in this city; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That climate change is real and is a present and tangible threat to national security, economic stability, water and food security, and the safety of the world’s poor and disenfranchised. It also presents an opportunity to build just, healthy, and restorative systems. In this midcoast Maine city of vibrant outdoor public spaces and a working waterfront, science matters. We will continue our work in the following areas: building towards energy independence, reducing carbon emissions, strengthening our local economy while stewarding natural resources--as well as increasing access to public transportation, expanding and strengthening our local food networks, educating our students to be climate-literate citizens, insulating our homes, rejecting fossil fuel infrastructure projects, and taking all other possible actions to protect future generations; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, We value the health and well-being of all citizens of Belfast--especially the most vulnerable. We believe that healthcare is a human right. We strive towards facilitating equitable access to healthcare to all in our community, and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, Belfast will remain committed to multiculturalism, diversity and inclusion. Belfast was the first municipality in Maine to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day--recognizing Indigenous and Native Peoples as the first inhabitants of this region. Additionally, as our city was founded by Scottish-Irish immigrants in 1770, we honor the contributions made by immigrant populations. Belfast welcomes immigrants and all new residents and visitors to our community, and supports their paths toward citizenship, recognizing the extraordinary efforts and resilience of the individuals who move here under the most difficult of circumstances, and who face barriers, including unfamiliar language, culture, and divisive political rhetoric; and and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That Belfast will strive to main our commitment to supporting independent organizations and programs that provide important services for our citizens, including public transportation, home weathering programs, the Soup Kitchen and New Hope for Women. As a community, we will continue working to proactively address and reduce poverty, homelessness, domestic and intimate partner violence, sexual assault and elder violence. We will build on our existing efforts to increase access in our community to those with disabilities; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED that the People of Belfast, through our Mayor and City Council, condemn bigotry, discrimination, hate speech, physical violence and any other actions intended to intimidate, demean, bully, frighten or harm others, and will resist and stand up against these actions in our community, including prosecuting hate crimes to the fullest extent of the law; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That Belfast is the “hub” of Waldo County, a destination city, and one of the most creative and culturally rich communities in Maine. That while Belfast may be a small city, we are determined to promote the principles articulated here under all circumstances. We argue, we campaign, we debate vigorously within our city, but on the points listed in this resolution, we are united. We will work together as a community, in policy and practice, to ensure that Belfast, Maine is a place that endeavors to exemplify the values of inclusivity, diversity, dignity, respect and security for all who live in, work in and visit our city--and set a positive example for future generations.
We feel it is important to credit several other groups and cities who have spearheaded and adopted similar resolutions. We have integrated some of the language of these proposals into Belfast Resolve. They are as follows: Board of Supervisors of the City of San Francisco, California; authors of the draft of the Vermont Resolution; Welcoming City proposals for Hallowell, Maine and Rockland, Maine
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