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  • Writer's pictureEmma Mulvaney-Stanak

Statement on Apartheid Ballot Question and Ongoing Israel-Hamas War

State Representative Emma Mulvaney-Stanak's Statement: I support and call for a bilateral ceasefire to protect innocent people in Palestine and Israel, create lasting peace, and end terrorism. This includes ending terrorist attacks by Hamas, returning all hostages, and ending Israel’s brutal military siege. This is the only way to work towards peace and rebuilding. I came to that position because I am anti-war and believe in peace.

Locally, the recent Burlington Israel-Hamas Apartheid ballot question should have been placed on the March 2024 ballot because residents collected the required signatures under the city charter rules. The city council and mayor need to stay focused on the legal question of whether the charter requirements for a ballot question were met or not. A ballot question should only be prevented from going on the ballot when the charter criteria is not met. The majority of the Burlington City Council prevented the apartheid ballot question from advancing based on policy opinions, not charter criteria. Direct democracy is an important provision in our city charter. It is also an important part of our state constitution system with several recent critical and timely precedents.

The conversation about the parameters and language of the apartheid ballot question belonged to and within our larger community and in spaces where voters could have more space ,time and safety to engage with each other, not within one intense city council meeting. The resulting debate in city hall was harmful, unproductive, and distracted city leaders from focusing on important local work right in front of us.

Burlington has a long history of connecting to the global world through our Sister City program. This is an important history and ongoing commitment that acknowledges we are interconnected. However, global issues should not get in the way of doing the pressing business of the city. And city leaders have an obligation to be much more mindful of the harm these conversations have on our community and a duty to repair harm when it happens.



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