City of St Paul resolution 20-712

The Council of City of Saint Paul introduced resolution 20-712 on 05/06/2020, tabled on IAM's request for two weeks and voted on 05/20/2020. Below is a chronology and update.

The India Association of Minnesota (IAM) strongly rejects the decision of St.Paul City Council to adopt resolution 20-788, ignoring our letters and multiple conversations with city council members that the language of the resolution portrayed India and Indian Americans in a negative light. We are disappointed with the outcome that did not follow a due process to understand the complexity of the issue. The council failed to acknowledge religious persecution across a number of South Asian countries and by focusing only on one country and one religion did not do justice to religious minorities persecuted in those countries which was well documented in a number of international reports.

IAM reiterates support for religious freedoms and strongly condemns persecution of religious and other minorities anywhere in the world.

Thank you for your letters and comments you provided to the St. Paul City Council members and Mayor Melvin Carter. The number of comments and letters to the Council Members allowed them to learn and gain a better understanding of these issues and acknowledged contributions of Minnesota’s Indian community, including the recent COVID-19 relief efforts to help Minnesotans in need. However, they listened to their St. Paul constituents they represented, many of whom supported the resolution. The resolution passed by 5 voting for and 2 abstentions.

While the Council did not adopt our recommendations for 20-712, our advocacy was successful in the Council recognizing the lack of a process for these kinds of issues and unanimously passed resolution 20-788 to address this gap for the future.

We encourage Asian Indian community members to get engaged at all levels of Government and Institutions. Civic participation helps make our voices heard in our democratic institutions.

Wed 05/21/2020The India Association of Minnesota (IAM) strongly rejects the decision of St.Paul City Council to adopt resolution 20-712
Wed 05/20/2020Resolution 20-712 adopted by Saint Paul city council with 5 yea, 2 abstentions Resolution 20-788 - "Supporting religious minorities persecuted globally and establishing a process for City Council action in response to requests for advocacy in support of persecuted minorities" - adopted by Saint Paul city council with 7 yea
Thu 05/15/2020IAM team met with Council member Jane Prince - sponsor of Resolution 20-712 - and communicated feedback from the community. IAM urged Ms. Prince to table the current resolution and explore an alternative resolution focused on the universal protection of minorities in all countries.
Thu 05/14/2020Revised resolution 20-712 included on agenda for 5/20 meeting
Mon 05/11/2020IAM response based on community conversations - table current resolution and explore an alternative resolution - sent to Saint Paul Council Members and Mayor Carter
Fri 05/08/2020 
Mon 05/11/2020
IAM hosted community conversations with regional organizations, faith-based organizations, and community organizers to gather feedback and inputs from the community
Wed 05/06/2020Saint Paul Council voted 6-1 to lay over the resolution by 2 weeks to 5/20. 
Councilmember Prince alludes incorrectly that she has been in contact with IAM for a long time. 
IAM was alerted to this resolution for the first time on 04/29/2020.
Mon 05/04/2020IAM alerted regional organization partners about the resolution
Sun 05/03/2020IAM recommendation - postpone resolution and allow for due process of community feedback - sent to Saint Paul Council Members, Mayor Carter, Council members of Minneapolis and Mayor Frey
Thu 04/30/2020Resolution 20-712 included on agenda of Saint Paul City Council for May 6th meeting
Wed 04/29/2020IAM was alerted, for the first time, by the legislative aide of Saint Paul Council Member Jane Prince about resolution 20-712.
IAM team met with Council member's team and expressed concerns regarding the resolution. 
IAM recommended postponing the resolution and urged the Council Member to follow due process of collecting feedback from Asian Indian residents of Saint Paul

FAQ: Proposed Resolution in City of Saint Paul and City of Minneapolis

What is the issue?

A councilmember in the City of Saint Paul and in the City of Minneapolis in partnership with the Council on American Islam Relations (CAIR) and its partners, proposed a resolution as follows: “Reaffirming Saint Paul as a welcoming city, expressing solidarity with Saint Paul’s South Asian community regardless of religion and caste by rejecting the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Islamophobic ideology, and opposing India’s National Registry of Citizens and Citizenship Amendment Act.”

The issue is that the resolution did not follow due process in seeking broad input from the community and presents their case in a way that is inflammatory and offensive to many people.

What has been done so far?

As soon as India Association of Minnesota heard about this resolution, we called a meeting with the Councilmember and advised her not to propose the resolution. We followed up with a letter making the case that due process was not followed in developing the resolution and this it should be tabled till such input was received from the community.

What happened at the City Council meeting?

The City Council of Saint Paul heard the resolution and voted 6-1 to postpone a decision for another two weeks so that both they and the community members had a better chance to understand the resolution. A similar resolution was to be introduced into the City of Minneapolis last week after the City of Saint Paul and our understanding is that it was not introduced.

 What are next steps?

India Association of Minnesota is convening various groups to gain input from the community members on their thoughts on the resolution and next steps. IAM will seek this guidance from these community conversations to determine next steps.

Where can I send input?

 Send a note directly to city council members and/or their legislative aides with cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

We agree with the India Association of Minnesota (IAM) and strongly affirm the values and respect for the rule of law, freedom of religion, protection of minority and indigenous groups from violent acts on people and property and the need to protect and uphold the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitutions of India and the United States. We request you to follow due process by asking Asian Indians and the City residents in general for their input and views on this resolution.

Until such input of the governed is obtained, it is advisable that the City Councils of Minneapolis and Saint Paul and the Mayors of Saint Paul and Minneapolis table (reject) consideration of the resolution

How do I get an update?

We will post an update on the issue periodically on this webpage.