CAIR-LA Demands Santa Ana Mayor Issue Apology for Biased Behavior During City Council Meeting
The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today demanded that Santa Ana Mayor Valerie Amezcua issue an apology for her biased actions during a recent Santa Ana City Council meeting.
On Tuesday, Dec. 5, the Santa Ana city council held its regularly scheduled meeting. The agenda included a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and a public comment portion, during which community members presented statements about the resolution.
During the public comment portion, Mayor Valerie Amezcua, who announced her position against the ceasefire resolution prior to the meeting, demonstrated a harmful bias against Palestinians and their allies within the Santa Ana community.
Despite the large crowd that showed up in favor of the resolution both online and virtually, the mayor chose to limit public comment to only two hours, completely preventing online participants from speaking.
She also repeatedly chastised pro-ceasefire attendees for periodically being disruptive, threatening to have police officers remove them from the meeting, yet appeared to ignore similar disruptions from anti-ceasefire attendees.
Several Palestinian Americans in attendance shared stories of their own families killed by Israel’s indiscriminate bombings of homes, schools, mosques, churches, hospitals, and refugee camps in Gaza. Mayor Amezcua cast doubt on the photos of children killed by Israel displayed by pro-ceasefire attendees but made no such accusations about photos of detained Israelis carried by those opposed to a ceasefire.
In a statement, CAIR-LA Policy Manager Basha Jamil said:
“The city of Santa Ana has long been a leader in Orange County when it comes to social justice. Unfortunately, Mayor Amezcua’s actions at the Dec. 5 city council meeting do not align with the city’s progressive and welcoming reputation. The mayor not only tried to silence and dismiss pro-Palestinian voices, but she also displayed an appalling lack of empathy and obvious disdain towards members of her own community who have lost dozens of family members, friends, and loved ones during Israel’s ongoing genocidal onslaught of Gaza.
“The mayor dismissed the people’s demands for a ceasefire as being beyond the scope of the city, saying she does not have a ‘hotline to D.C. or the military.’ The people of Santa Ana do not expect her to singlehandedly solve the problem, but as mayor, she has the duty to honor her constituents’ calls for justice and peace, and to create a welcoming environment for all residents of Santa Ana, without displaying bias towards one side. The horrific situation in Gaza is not some far off issue that has no impact on Santa Ana residents; many of our community members have lost family members at the hands of the Israeli military and we are seeing the alarming rise in Islamophobia and antisemitism right here at home. Israel’s ongoing aggression and indiscriminate killing of civilians affects us all.
“Mayor Amezcua’s actions are deeply damaging to the Palestinian, Muslim, and Arab communities and their allies. We hope Mayor Amezcua will consider the damage caused and take a public stance to uphold the values of Santa Ana.”
CAIR-LA and partner organizations sent a letter to Mayor Amezcua urging that she:
1. Immediately issue a public apology to the Palestinian, Muslim, and Arab community for the harm her actions caused.
2. Reaffirm her dedication to the ideals of justice and diversity that are central to Santa Ana. CAIR-LA is Southern California’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice and empower American Muslims.
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