I am speaking out in support for the resolution to commit to promote an open, respectful, healthy community.

Why do we need this declaration? A year ago I would have said — it is common sense and we don’t need to write anything down. But on January 20 everything changed.

I never have cared about politics. I felt secure in my life, even as an immigrant living in Maine for almost 30 years. But in the last 53 days I have started to feel threatened in my civil rights, that I always have taken for granted.

In my swearing-in ceremony when becoming a citizen of the United States, the judge encouraged us to be active citizens. Coming from a European country I have been privileged and felt too comfortable to get involved beyond my commitment to vote. 

With the outcome of the election, I, like a lot of others, have heard a strong wake-up call. In seeing the attacks on basic human rights in addition to the open discrimination to already vulnerable people, the disregard for our environment, our health, while lifting needed protections — this whirlwind of threats needs to stop. 

Times have changed fast and it is important to stand up as a community with this resolution. It is a symbolic act. Just as Pope Francis’s washing the feet of refugees is a symbolic act. But it is important to stand up for our values, hope and aspirations. This is the one positive outcome of the current situation I can see — it is giving us the opportunity and motivation to clearly define our values and how we want to shape our communities. I am not the only one who needs a beacon of hope that there is a safe place in this world, where I and others are welcome, that is committing to treat everyone with respect and where climate change is taken seriously — after all, we are a coastal community and will feel the effects of rising sea levels directly. I fully support all the points listed in the resolution.

Even a person who is privileged enough that he or she feels not personally affected by the current climate of political change, will not lose any rights or money by supporting this document. 

Thank you for your consideration.

Antje Roitzsch, Rockland