December 4, 2023

RICHMOND — When officers on this metropolis of solely 115,000 folks introduced they’d be voting on a decision to assist Palestinians dwelling in Gaza amid the worst outbreak of violence between Israel and Hamas in many years, it drew lots of of individuals to Tuesday’s metropolis council assembly.

The Richmond Metropolis Council cleared its whole Tuesday evening schedule to debate the controversial stance, which protests what the decision characterizes as an ongoing marketing campaign of ethnic cleaning, collective punishment and battle crimes by the state of Israel. A vote approving the prolonged decision wasn’t tallied till simply after 1 a.m. Wednesday — establishing what seems to be the primary of its sort within the nation.

Almost 5 hours of public testimony was delivered by scores of neighborhood leaders and native residents on all sides of the battle, which has already claimed the lives of greater than 6,500 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis.

Richmond’s elected officers patiently listened to the lots of of people that packed Metropolis Corridor’s chambers to capability, overflowed to the auditorium foyer subsequent door and tuned into one of many assembly’s livestreams. At one level, the Zoom room maxed out its restrict of 500 individuals and greater than 300 folks have been following alongside on YouTube, whereas a minimum of a further 150 written public feedback have been submitted nearly.

Attendees — who got solely 60 seconds to talk — collectively represented a cacophony of anger, grief, concern, hope and solidarity that overwhelmingly pleaded for a shared way forward for peace and the sanctity of harmless lives. Greater than half of the feedback supported the decision.