At their meeting on Monday, October 16, Mayor Urban Carmel addressed the City Council and community regarding recent events in the Middle East and occurences of hate speech at public meetings.
The Mayor's comments are transcibed below.
"The events in the Middle East in Israel and and the Gaza Strip are horrific. The United Nations is now calling this a humanitarian catastrophe. There are thousands of people dead. There are children that have been beheaded. There are perhaps perhaps 1 million refugees now that don’t have access to water and food.
This is a catastrophe on an enormous scale. This is the kind of moment where words just fail. There’s just no way to describe what’s going on there and to express the sadness and the horror that we all feel.
If you are affected by this through family or friends, our hearts are with you 100%. To the people in the region, our hearts are with you 100%. It’s something that we hope comes to a quick resolution and a limited loss of life.
Over the past couple of weeks, there’s been a spike in "Zoom bombing." People have been coming to meetings in Marin County in California. They are making antisemitic comments. They are making homophobic comments, racist comments, xenophobic comments. This is all hate speech.
This follows, unfortunately, a pattern from last year when a Councilmember in San Anselmo, who happens to be Black, was a target of racist comments. There’s a fine line between free speech and hate speech. Free speech is here to inform us and to create debate. We welcome free speech, even though it is sometimes against what we believe, but it makes us smarter. The City Council meetings that we have here are all about making ourselves smarter too. And listening to the public [helps us] make better decisions as a consequence of that. We welcome that.
Hate speech is designed to divide us. It’s the designed to incite violence. If you are here to belittle people, to make people feel unwelcome, to make them feel unsafe, I am here to tell you that we are against you and we will make sure that you fail.
Mill Valley is united with our neighbors. We are united with our community. We are united against hate and love trumps hate 10 times out of 10. We will prevail in this. Every day every week, every month is United Against Hate in Mill Valley, and that’s a core value for us."