The World Affairs Councils of Tacoma and UW Tacoma organized a public gathering on campus Mar. 9, titled “Washington – A Globally Engaged State.” Governor Jay Inslee and Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland were the keynote speakers, and they shared their observations on present obstacles and unprecedented challenges institutions are facing.
Chancellor Mark Pagano opened by thanking the members of the community and then spoke of how wonderful the people of Tacoma. Chancellor Pagano then introduced Chairman Marcia Garrett of the World Affairs Council. Garrett provided direction for the evening, and then introduced Former Mayor Brian Ebersole.
Ebersole took the podium and introduced both Gov. Inslee and Mayor Strickland as “kind, thoughtful, wise and fierce when need to be.” While introducing Gov. Inslee, Ebersole did mention that Inslee was a possible candidate for the 2020 Presidential election.
In taking the stage, Gov. Jay Inslee quoted Martin Luther King saying, “we are tied in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality,” and further stated that destiny cannot be defined by local, national, county or corporate boundaries.
“The less boundaries we feel in our hearts, the more successful we become as individuals.” Gov. Inslee said.
Gov. Inslee conveyed the story about a time when America had lost touch momentarily with its’ tradition of fair play, humanity, and recognition of being banded by hope and love rather than fear.
“Now I believe we are approaching a situation where we have someone whose plays on fears and seeks to divide us… and I’m glad that myself and the good-hearted people of Washington state are standing up saying ‘no Mr. President, we are bound by the U.S. constitution and our sense of commitment to humanity,’” Inslee said.
Gov. Inslee continued to describe the country’s current climate, and addressed the need for citizens to continue their education.
“I know that it’s deep… If we have to hire extra counselors to counsel students to encourage to come to school rather than fear whether they will be deported, then we have a serious problem,” Inslee said.
Mayor Strickland spoke of what it means to be a globally engaged city and the shift that is occurring.
“We are no longer a country that welcomes everyone … when I first became Mayor, I wanted to elevate the notion of creating an international profile. The more you learn about cities, the more one understands that global connectivity is what makes cities and metropolitan regions strong. And the fact is, cities that are welcoming of immigrants are more prosperous,” Strickland said.
He also emphasized the importance of the voice of immigrants, and stressed about how global engagement is important for the economy to thrive.
“Tacoma is an international, welcoming city – raising the bar and setting an example for the nation -that is what it truly means to uphold what it means to be American … Tacoma became a welcoming city not in lieu of an election – we have been a welcoming city long before it became fashionable, ” Strickland said.
The floor was then open for audience members to ask questions to both representatives. Questions about sanctuary cities, federal funding, racial animosity, the immigrant crisis, homelessness issues, and healthcare were introduced.
When asked about the Trump administration – Gov. Inslee held a firm standpoint, stating, “The Trump administration is backing down. We have stopped them from enforcing their executive order on immigration once and we will do it again. The light on the Statue of Liberty is still shining and we won’t allow them to trample over her. I will not allow Donald Trump to touch our dreamers, and I think there is a very good chance [for reasons I cannot disclose right now] that we will win this battle and that our dreamers will be safe and continue to dream.”