Guest Column: Immigration meeting canceled

Dear informed citizens,

The meeting with the Illinois Minuteman Project has been canceled by Stash O’Neil’s restaurant. The owner got a call from the Rockford Police, and was advised about increased police presence at the event in case organized protesters attempted to disrupt the meeting. They should demand rights from their own country, not ours. We will be in the parking lot to give out information and talk to people who didn’t learn of the cancellation.

(If you do not wish to hear from us in the future, please let us know.)

We are looking, and will find a venue here soon, and if the policy of Memorial Hall is clarified, we might meet there. I have submitted a letter to all County Board members. Please contact your County Board member and ask him to support the following resolution:

“Your support is needed to implement a change in language in the guidelines for the rental of the Memorial Hall auditorium. It presently reads ‘non-political (with the exception of ceremonial events honoring Memorial Hall.)’

Those ceremonial events are not political, so that language should be removed. Of course, events honoring Memorial Hall should have priority. “Political” means advocating a change in policy. Adding new laws, removing certain laws and enforcing the laws, are all appropriate subjects for Town Hall Meetings. “Non-political” should be replaced with “non-partisan and not endorsing candidates. Town Hall Meetings on any issue may be held.”

There was no venue for Town Hall Meetings when Memorial Hall was conceived, and it was clearly intended for that purpose.

As you know, the rally to begin the “Empower Rockford” home rule petition drive was held at Memorial Hall. It was political. The “Illinois Minuteman Project” Town Hall Meeting on illegal immigration was denied 11 days after the County accepted the payment for use of the auditorium and security personnel. Why wasn’t the application denied in the first place? Mr. Chapman made a belated decision that this meeting was unworthy, and that this group was not one the County should allow access to Memorial Hall.

Making the guidelines more specfic will make the interpretation of “political” less subjective, less ambiguous, and less likely to hinge on the personal opinion of an administrator.

Thank you, E. J. Pagel


Rosanna Pulido, director, (847) 626-7818.

From the March 29-April 4, 2006, issue

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