SOUTH PORTLAND — The City Council passed a resolution Monday condemning violence and hate speech and expressing solidarity with Muslims, immigrants and all those targeted for their ethnicity, race or religion.

The resolution follows President Trump’s recent ban of refugees and other immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries and his campaign promises to crack down on illegal immigration and build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

The resolution refers to an “unprecedented backlash” since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, in the form of hate crimes and employment discrimination toward Arab and Muslim Americans, those perceived to be Muslim, asylum seekers and other immigrants, both nationally and locally.

The council voted unanimously in favor of the resolution, which says its members are “saddened and outraged” at the recent escalation of hateful rhetoric against Muslims and immigrants, especially by political figures and elected leaders who it says are “exploiting people’s fear of random acts of violence and terrorism in order to gain power.”

“We, as elected representatives of the people, have a special responsibility not to stay silent in the face of hate, violence, and discrimination against any of our constituents or countrymen,” the resolution says, noting that foreign-born residents make up about 7 percent of South Portland’s population.

“We’re all immigrants and we need to stick together,” said Mayor Patti Smith, who spoke emotionally Monday night about her Swedish great-grandmother, Olga Victoria Wahlberg Johnson, who came to the United States alone at age 14 in 1904 and was processed with the throngs of immigrants who passed through Ellis Island.

More than 20 people spoke in favor of the resolution, including state Sen. Rebecca Millett, D-Cape Elizabeth, and Ken Kunin, superintendent of the city’s schools. Smith said she hopes other communities follow South Portland’s lead in denouncing bigotry and expressing support for Muslims and immigrants.

Specifically, the resolution:

 Condemns all hateful speech and violent action directed at Muslims and immigrants.

“Categorically rejects political tactics that use fear to manipulate voters or to gain power or influence.”

“Reaffirms the value of a pluralistic society, the beauty of an American culture influenced by multiple cultures, and the inalienable right of every person to live and practice their faith without fear.”

“Commits to upholding a policy that affirms civil and human rights, and ensures that those targeted on the basis of race, religion or immigration status can turn to the government without fear of recrimination.”

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: KelleyBouchard