Key West will send word to President-elect Donald Trump that it will remain dedicated to equal rights for all after he is sworn in as commander-in-chief Jan. 20.
“Some people feel that their rights are going to be taken away. Some people feel threatened — it may not be real, I hope it’s not real — but some people feel that way,” City Commissioner Sam Kaufman said Tuesday before city leaders approved the proposed declaration. “We’re blessed to live in Key West. People are safe here to be who they are without fear of retribution.”
In the proposal, commissioners reaffirmed the island’s One Human Family philosophy and official motto, adopted in 2000, in a vote that drew cheers from the audience at Old City Hall.
One Human Family, a sticker designed by artist J.T. Thompson, today is a nonprofit offering the imprinted slogans for just the cost of postage. Millions have been distributed worldwide.
The Rev. Randy Becker and his wife Elissa Bishop-Becker brought to the city the proposal sponsored by Commissioner Sam Kaufman. Randy Becker said it tells the world that Key West will not stop protecting and defending equal rights for all under the new president’s administration.
“We’re not going back, we’re going forward,” Becker said.
City Attorney Shawn Smith is also drafting a proposed law to declare Key West a sanctuary city.
Some cities and counties have for years been declared as sanctuary cities, meaning they won’t comply with federal immigration laws such as jailing suspected undocumented immigrants past their release dates.
Only Commissioner Margaret Romero dissented, saying sending the statement to Trump only reinforces the divide people felt after the presidential election.
“We need to start moving forward in helping to get people past that,” Romero said. “I’m not comfortable with this being sent anywhere.”
Romero said it’s redundant since city leaders took an oath to serve all citizens and also worried it may be interpreted as the city agreeing to fund nonprofits, which she opposes.
“It’s important we always let others know who we are,” said Commissioner Jimmy Weekley, the former mayor who signed the 2000 proclamation. “We are citizens that accept everyone for who they are,”
Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen