EASTHAMPTON — Nearly three dozen Easthampton residents spoke out at Easthampton City Council’s March 20 meeting to support the council approving a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

“[We] desperately want to see the killing of innocents end,” said resident Sara Weinberger, who noted that a diverse group of Easthampton residents and community members drafted the resolution itself. Weinberger encouraged the council to approve the resolution and not let the desire for perfection get in the way of good enough.

The public speak time continued for just over an hour, with a brief break for a scheduled public hearing, with each resident who spoke about the topic supporting the resolution and several voicing concerns about the discussion at the March 18 meeting of the rules subcommittee.

Multiple residents spoke of the number of people who spoke against the resolution at the subcommittee meeting, but who weren’t from Easthampton.

Carolyn Zaikowski, a local author, expressed her uneasiness that people who spoke against the resolution called her a sexist slur and had connections to pro-Israeli groups and that councilor Owen Zaret had connections to them. Zaikowski spoke directly to Zaret and told him that he was “dancing very close” to ethical boundaries.

Many other residents spoke of their disappointment with the rules subcommittee meeting, how the speakers were handled and that the subcommittee declined to bring the resolution back to the full council for a vote.

Danielle O’Banion, a local doctor and Easthampton resident, said she was “shocked at how weak the council appeared” and asked the City Council to represent her and most Easthampton residents by approving the resolution.

Other residents told the council that approval of this resolution should not be complicated or controversial, explaining that it’s about wanting an end to people dying. More than one resident referred to it as a moral duty.

Councilor JP Kwiecinski assured residents that the matter would be discussed further at the rules subcommittee’s next meeting on March 27. At that meeting, the subcommittee unanimously vote to send it back to the full council with its recommendation. The full council was scheduled to vote on the resolution at its April 3 meeting.

Tina Lesniak
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