Council adds voice to condemnations of swastika

The official proclamation comes about a month after vandalism was discovered at Heritage Square Park.

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WALLA WALLA -- Nearly a month after a swastika was burned into the lawn of Heritage Square Park and almost two weeks after missing the opportunity to join 200 people in a demonstration march, the Walla Walla City Council has come out with an official resolution to condemn the anti-Semitic act and other acts of "intimidation, hatred and disrespect."

At their regular meeting Wednesday, Council members present unanimously voted to adopt a resolution that would condemn "acts and speech intended to intimidate or encourage hatred and disrespect" of a group of people. Council member Conrado Cavazos was absent.

On Oct. 2, close to 200 people marched from the Whitman College Reid Campus Center to Heritage Square Park, where they rallied, heard speeches and listened to statements from local politicians. Those official statements of condemnation included letters from the Walla Walla County commissioners and U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.

In addition, an opening statement was given by state Rep. Maureen Walsh, R-College Place. But no such statement was received from the city of Walla Walla, though city officials had been made aware of the protest march in advance, event coordinator Noah Leavitt confirmed.

The move to adopt the resolution was spearheaded by Mayor Barbara Clark. And shortly before passing the resolution, the mayor addressed the city's lack of support for the protesters.

"There had been letters read and people present from other political jurisdictions, but not the city. And I suggested that the city might also want to state our belief that certain kinds of speech and actions were not encouraged. And we would like to say that we think it is very important that we respect all of the people who live in our community," Clark said.

Alfred Diaz can be reached at alfreddiaz@wwub.com or 526-8325.

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