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Ossining Mayor Defends Symbolic Resolutions

Victoria Gearity.
Victoria Gearity. Photo Credit: File

This story has been updated.

OSSINING, N.Y. --  Ossining Mayor Victoria Gearity said two "symbolic" resolutions the village recently passed were about affirming the values of Ossining.

At a Dec. 5 village board meeting, the village unanimously approved two resolutions- one expressing support for giving all New Yorkers, including illegal immigrants, driver's licenses, and the other condemning violence and hate speech and expressing solidarity with those targeted for their ethnicity, race, and religion.

"From time to time, the village board considers resolutions that serve to affirm the values of our community, and sometimes, to encourage legislators at higher levels of government to take action that will benefit Village residents," Gearity said in a statement.

The driver's license resolution was proposed by Trustee Manuel Quezada, and he renewed his recommendation following the presidential election that was "marked by incendiary anti-immigrant rhetoric," Gearity said. 

"This board felt it was important to pass a resolution both affirming our values and encouraging state government to take action in a tangible way that will improve roadway safety for all drivers," Gearity said.

The Village of Ossining is the first municipality in Westchester to pass a resolution like this.  

The resolution condemning violence and hate speech was proposed by Trustee John Codman. Gearity said they approved the resolution as a response to "national voices" calling for a registry of Muslims or banning people from the county because of religion.

"The Board passed this resolution to affirm the Village of Ossining’s values of, 'a pluralistic society, the beauty of a culture composed of multiple cultures, and the inalienable right of every person to live and practice their faith without fear.'”

Gearity said thankfully there have been no attacks on Muslims or people perceived to be Muslims in the Village of Ossining

"These resolutions are an affirmation of our communities," Gearity said. "The Village of Ossining is just like our nation. It was built on immigrants and diversity. It's a celebration of the differences that distinguish us rather than divide us."

A similar resolution was proposed by an interfaith group of clergy in Croton-on-Hudson.

In response, the Croton Village Board released a statement condemning any acts of discrimination and violence against any national origin, race, gender, sex, religion, disability or political viewpoint. The board declined to single out Muslims, with board members not wanting to single out a particular group.

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