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Mayor Newton, members of the Council:

Id like to begin by naming a truth. We are witnessing an attack on

immigrants in our country. Period. We will see plenty of attempts to divide
people up and turn those who have obtained their papers against those who
havent. Meanwhile, the attacks on immigrants will continue.

You might have heard the name Miguel Perez. Hes a US army veteran who
served 2 tours in Afghanistan and sustained a brain injury on his second tour
of dutyand hes now one of thousands of green card veterans who face
deportation under these new directives. Hes facing deportation because our
Veterans health care system failed him, and without the proper care, he did
what many people do, and self-medicated with drugs and alcoholgetting
himself a misdemeanor conviction, which apparently counts for more than
the great sacrifices people like Miguel Perez have made to our nation. People
say, Get in line! Follow the rules! Well, Miguel Perez did. Then, he went
above and beyond serving our country. And when he needed this countrys
help, we let him down; now were trying to kick him out.

We who live in Rockville take great pride in our diversity. And we should. We
should! Its an amazing thing! I was present at last weeks mayor and council
meeting, and we allevery one of us in the roomshared a proud moment
recognizing Rockvilles status as the ninth most culturally diverse small city
in the US. We applauded! The City of Rockville Twitter account recognized
this news with the hashtags #proud and #Diversityisourstrength. I agree.
The question for all of us here today is how much that diversity truly matters
to us, and whetherwhen push comes to shovewere capable and willing
to stand up for our diverse community.

To you, Madam Mayor, and members of the Council, I want to say that really,
every decision you make in these chambers, whether its about historic
preservation, or public housing, or services to our diverse senior community,
comes down to the same thing: What kind of a community should Rockville
be? The question before you today is the same. Should Rockville be a
community where residents fear dialing 9-1-1 to report a crime in their
neighborhood because doing so might pose a risk to their own safety and
autonomy? Should Rockville be a community where children fear going to
school in the morning because they dont know if theyll see their parents
again? Or should Rockville be a community where we embrace one another
and fiercely defend the values, like diversity, that we know make us

Thats your question.

What kind of a community should Rockville be?
Thank you.

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