In early January 2016, the Albany Common Council unanimously passed (with 14 co-sponsors, plus vocal support from the council president) an anti-Islamophobia resolution, very similar to the one passed on January 1 by the Albany County Legislature. The resolution was introduced by Hon. Leah Golby (Ward 10). The meeting was public, and a very large number of speakers, from the interfaith, Muslim, and activist communities, spoke in support of the resolution. Council member Golby writes: “The palpable feel of a strong community was incredible … All the thanks go to you and the community!” “I’m so glad I was there. Person after person speaking their truth, recalling history we don’t want repeated,” said Jill Peckenpaugh Director, Albany Field Office, U.S. Committee for Refugees & Immigrants.
This makes the *third* such resolution passed by local governments in our area: the Schenectady City Council’s on December 28, the Albany County Legislature’s on January 1, and now the Albany Common Council’s on January 4. In addition to bringing in the new year with solidarity, this cluster of resolutions seems to be unique in the country: only the City Councils of Portland, Oregon and Spokane and Seattle, Washington appear to have passed similar resolutions. It is pretty obvious what this says about the Capital Region community and how fellow community members support and respect Muslim neighbors, colleagues, and friends.
Many people signed up to speak; each one spoke eloquently, precisely, and often movingly of their experiences and support. One highlight of the meeting was Ruth Pelham, musician and proprietor of the MusicMobile, who decided to *sing* her speech, by means of a song she’d written especially for the occasion.
Here’s a very good piece from Channel 9, featuring one of the most memorable speakers, Tasneem Ali: http://www.twcnews.com/nys/capital-region/news/2016/01/5/standing-ovation-given-on-decision-to-help-curb-islamophobia-albany.html.