Contact: Kathy Cummings
City Manager’s Office
KIRKLAND, Wash. – At the September 5 City Council meeting, Mayor Amy Walen joined the mayors of Bellevue, Issaquah, Redmond and Sammamish in proclaiming September 15 to 24, 2017, as Eastside Welcoming Week.
“I’m proud that we are once again joining our neighboring cities in this meaningful proclamation,” said Mayor Amy Walen. “This reaffirms our Council Goal of creating a diverse and inclusive community that respects and welcomes everyone.”
Eastside Welcoming Week is part of national Welcoming Week created by the organization Welcoming America.
This is the second year that Kirkland has participated in Eastside Welcoming Week. Doing so supports formal actions the City Council enacted earlier this year.
In January 2017, Mayor Amy Walen issued a proclamation describing the City of Kirkland’s commitment to being a welcoming, safe and inclusive community. In February 2017, the Council took further action by formalizing the themes in the proclamation through approval of a resolution. Council also approved an ordinance codifying the City’s policy that general prohibits inquiring into immigration status and collecting information regarding religious affiliation.
The February resolution included direction to staff to take further actions including:
- Review Kirkland’s policies and programs and Council actions that keep Kirkland a just society that respects and welcomes all people.
- Invite the community to come together to discuss the shared values of diversity and inclusion.
- Identify actions the City and community can take the help keep Kirkland a safe, welcoming and inclusive city for all people.
In response, City staff facilitated the formation of a Community Stakeholder Group which could assist City staff in the development of programs and activities to support the City Council’s direction provided in the proclamation and subsequent resolution. Participants include a broad range of interests and expertise including representatives from faith communities, non-profit agencies, neighborhood associations, ethnic groups and self-formed community coalitions such as KirklandSafe. The group has adopted the name the Inclusion Network.
Also in response to the resolution, the City Manager’s Office proposed and hosted an event on July 29 called “City Hall for All” to promote City Hall as a resource for all Kirkland residents and highlight the City’s efforts to fulfill the goals in the City Council’s resolution. Most City departments participated in the event, which was attended by around 180 attendees.
For more information on Eastside Welcoming Week, including a calendar of events, consult the website for Eastside Refugee and Immigrant Coalition.