The statement—signed by Deputy Mayor Drew Claxton, Councilwoman Kathleen Talbot, Councilwoman Vivian McKenzie and Councilman Andre Rainey—is as follows:
“We consider Peekskill’s incredible diversity a powerful strength and we want to make it known, in no uncertain terms, that our community is a safe place for everyone, no matter their creed, color, orientation or documentation.
The United States is a nation of immigrants and Peekskill is no different. We value the fact that we have residents who have come from around the world, some seeking refuge, some seeking employment and some seeking a new start.
We must never forget what is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
This inscription represents the kind of leadership our country so desperately needs right now: empathy not hostility, compassion not hate, and courage not cowardice.
We commit to creating and sustaining that kind of culture in Peekskill and ensuring that it’s a safe hometown for all our residents.
We look forward to working with the Mayor and the Police Department to confirm that our practices are consistent with these principles.”
When asked if—due to the word “documentation” in the opening paragraph and the fact that the chief of police is included—the statement means that Common Council Democrats are asking that Peekskill be declared a sanctuary city, Claxton wrote the following:
“The statement makes it clear and unequivocal,” Claxton wrote. “In a country where the president of the United States is demonizing immigrants, seeking to build walls, separate families from each other, villainize Muslims, and deport hard working members of communities across the country, Peekskill is a safe place where we will stand up to division and fear.”
The Peekskill Post has reached out to Catalina and Johansen for reaction to the statement.