Conservative City Set to Issue Proclamation on Human Rights, Respect for Immigrants

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by Glynn Wilson

One of the most conservative municipalities in Alabama has determined that human rights should trump all other parochial issues and public officials are about to state that publicly and unanimously, according to a source who would rather not be identified. Never mind that it was probably a federal lawsuit that led to the change of heart in Hoover City Hall.

The City of Hoover will issue a Proclamation on Monday that was approved unanimously by the City Council at its most recent “working session,” according to the source. There will apparently be a little ceremony at Monday’s council meeting presenting a framed copy of it to the Principal of Gwin Elementary School, “a handy occasion to make a rather sweeping announcement of the city’s (new) position on human rights.”

“Keeping in mind Tip O’Neill’s statement that all politics is local, this Proclamation reflects the consensus of the City Council and appears to eviscerate and excoriate much of the jingoistic, xenophobic extremism contained in (Alabama’s anti-immigration law) HB56 and in whatever upcoming bastardization the extremists in the Alabama Senate might seek to introduce,” the source says. “For a municipality with as questionable a track record as Hoover has in observance of anti-discrimination policy to adopt something so ‘humane’ represents a reflection of a new direction in that city’s official thinking. It should certainly eliminate much of the racial and ethnical demonization that characterized the political races the last time around.”


The language reflects the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1958, 1989) (as yet unratified by only the U.S. and Somalia), Section 34 of the Alabama Constitution of 1901, the 14th Amendment, and a federal criminal statute on civil rights conspiracies, 18 U.S.C. 242.

“My only concern is that folks of our persuasion not ‘gloat’ to try to turn this into a partisan political victory,” the source said. “I think it is a blessing for all people in the city and should be applauded for that reason.”

Background

A federal judge just dismissed the city of Hoover from a federal lawsuit that aimed to block some municipalities from enforcing the state’s new anti-immigration law, according to the Birmingham News.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Hopkins granted the dismissal at the request of George Huddleston, who filed the September 2011 lawsuit that also names Alabaster, Pelham, Leeds and Irondale as defendants. Huddleston said Hoover’s dismissal stems from an agreement reached with Hoover attorneys that involved the disclosure of certain municipal court records. The suit contended that the municipalities have ordinances, administrative rules and regulations in place with the purpose of discriminating against Hispanics.

“The timing (of Hoover’s Human Rights Proclamation) is significant,” the source said, “but should not be taken as a ‘quid pro quo’ for the official municipal action in issuing the proclamation.”

The proclamation was presented by Councilwoman Mari Morrison, and is expected to receive the unanimous vote of the council at Monday’s meeting.

“She did a fine job of shepherding it through the heretofore uncharted waters of collective institutional irrationality and should be commended for having the strength and will in a political year to present something so sweeping in scope,” the source said. Furthermore: “No police cars were harmed during this effort, and no one ‘occupied’ Hoover, but a beneficial result seems to have been obtained anyway.”

Perhaps the proclamation will put certain people on notice in Montgomery and get them to rethink what they intend to do when they roll out the new and improved HB56 next week, but don’t hold your breath and count on it. As public officials have shown time and time again throughout Alabama’s storied history in dealing with civil rights, it almost always takes demonstrations and lawsuits to stop official racism from being the policy and the law of the land.

© 2012, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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