Olympia resolution supports Syrian refugees

The Olympia City Council issued a resolution Tuesday in support of refugees trying to escape tyranny and civil unrest in Syria.

The action was prompted by local resident Brad Andrews, who‘d asked the council to pass such a resolution and declare Olympia a welcoming place for refugees.

At the Nov. 23 council meeting, Andrews said the request was inspired by his experiences in Syria, where he went in 2004 to help a friend find her relatives.

“This country was founded by refugees and founded by people looking for a new start,” he told the council. “I see no difference with the refugees in Syria.”

Olympia is following the lead of Gov. Jay Inslee, who was among a handful of governors to publicly welcome refugees to the state instead of blocking them after the terrorists attack in Paris. The number of Syrian refugees is estimated at more than 4 million.

The city’s resolution says “all refugees should be treated with the dignity, care and compassion that every person deserves,” and adds that Olympia “continues to welcome all visitors and prospective residents, regardless of national origin or refugee status.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, Councilman Steve Langer praised the resolution and noted that his ancestors were refugees.

“This is really who we are as Americans,” he said. “All of us come from somewhere else.”