Rockland City Council voted 3-1 on Monday night to pass a non-binding resolution promoting “an open healthy community” that celebrates “difference, diversity, and individuality among residents, workers and visitors” including “ability, race, creed, national and cultural origin, immigration status, color, age, religious beliefs, class, neurodiversity, sexuality, gender identification, and gender expression.”

The aspirational statement of values — which was drafted by local citizen group the Woodstove Alliance and sponsored by Councilor Ed Glaser — also states that the city will be proactive in “reducing poverty, homelessness, climate change, the criminalization of addiction, sexual assault, racism and domestic violence” and “improve health care access, fair wages, affordable housing, addiction treatment, ... increasing accessibility for people with disabilities and to gender-inclusive bathrooms” among several other provisions. 

Councilors Ed Glaser, Valli Geiger and Adam Ackor voted Yes, while Mayor Will Clayton voted No.

Geiger said that she recognized that some Rocklanders oppose the resolution, but she said it is necessary to counter the rise of hate speech and harassment of vulnerable people in the community in recent months.    

“I have no expectation that this will change hearts, but it does tell people whose hearts are hardened that this community does not stand with you,” said Geiger. 

Mayor Will Clayton said he voted no because he had concerns about language stating that the city will oppose policies that “scapegoat” people, will welcome and celebrate difference, diversity, and individuality among residents on the basis of “immigration status,” and that the city will reduce the “criminalization of addiction.”

Also at Monday’s meeting, the Council voted 4-0 to rename the Rockland Rec Center at 61 Limerock Street the “Flanagan Community Center” in honor of the late Edward “Dan” Flanagan, longtime coach and employee at the center.