What Makes America Great

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"America is a great country; it always has been. Our challenge now is to continue to wave the flag of freedom in the face of fear and uncertainty. I am confident we can do that."

 

As my son and I boarded the Red Line early last Saturday morning, the long row of train cars were packed with energized crowds wearing pink hats and holding handmade signs, as thousands more eagerly waited on the platform for their chance to get on board. According to Metro, the public transit agency carried a total of 592,000 passengers that day -- a whopping 360,000 more riders than on a typical Saturday. It was certainly not a typical Saturday.

That day was a historic day in Los Angeles. I was so proud to stand in solidarity with women and men in Los Angeles and around the country to protect the rights and values that make our democracy so strong. The Women's March in Los Angeles drew hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life in our diverse city. We spoke as one voice for peace, equality and human rights, and against bigotry, religious intolerance and xenophobia. 

At a time when our country should be united, the recent election has exposed deep divisions over important issues in the United States. There are many challenges that lie ahead for all of us, but Los Angeles is and will always be a city of hope, innovation and openness. We will not stand idly by and let anyone, even representatives of the federal government, disrespect and dismantle our communities. Instead, we will be prepared to defend our great city and the people who live and work here.   

With a population of more than four million people, the City of Los Angeles is home to immigrants who trace their roots to countries around the world, who practice different religions -- or no religion at all -- and whose contributions to our communities form a beautiful, complex and vibrant culture.

Time and again, the City of Los Angeles has overwhelmingly embraced this diversity. We celebrate the common traits that bind us, while seeking to understand and accept our differences. This sort of tolerance and inclusion has been the cornerstone of the city's strength and the reason behind our exceptional social, cultural and economic progress. 

Protecting Angelenos

Last week, I introduced two motions that pave the way for LA to remain on the right side of history and ensure that Angelenos are protected from the uncertainty that this new administration brings. The first motion would prohibit city employees from participating in any program that would create a registry of individuals based on their religion or faith, or that would result in discrimination. It also asks the Los Angeles Police Department and the City Attorney to report on their efforts to respond to hate crimes in the city and ensure the safety of Muslim Americans and other minority communities.

Throughout his candidacy, the new president repeatedly proposed creating a registry of Muslim Americans and banning Muslims and refugees from entering the United States. He repeatedly engaged in rhetoric that unfairly scapegoated Muslim Americans based solely on their faith. Our city should take these statements seriously, and we should never tolerate or accept them as they undermine our most cherished American values.  

My second motion seeks to determine the financial impact of any federal dictates that would punish cities that do not devote local resources to enforcing federal immigration laws.  

It is my sincere hope that Washington will not damage all the forward progress California has made, but we must be prepared to stand firm if they try. America is a great country; it always has been. Our challenge now is to continue to wave the flag of freedom in the face of fear and uncertainty. I am confident we can do that. Los Angeles perfectly embodies the ideals and character that, in my opinion, our country urgently needs today.  

Read my motions here.

If you have comments about the motions to protect Angelenos, please contact me: paul.krekorian@lacity.org.