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Statement from City Council President Vermillion

As President of City Council, I offer my sincere and heartfelt apologies to the members of the Jewish faith who are living within the Hilliard community, within Central Ohio, and around the world. I realize that Council’s vote on the first night of Passover was a matter of inappropriate timing and disregard for our Jewish neighbors. My actions have hurt people who celebrate a faith that I respect and admire.

I want to say, unequivocally, that I am sorry for placing this piece of legislation on the City Council agenda on such a holy holiday. The timing of this vote was poorly considered. I now realize that it lacked empathy and an understanding of the importance of Passover to our Jewish community. The timing excluded our Jewish neighbors from having their voices heard on a topic that affects their family, friends, and faith community.

Three of my fellow Council Members also voted in favor of this resolution on April 22 and they also wish to express their sincere apologies for their actions of hearing, discussing, and voting on this resolution on the first night of Passover. They now realize fully how disrespectful and exclusionary this was to the Jewish community.

I also wish to clarify that nothing contained within the adopted resolution or action to vote against the amendments to the resolution was intended to state or imply in any way that Israel does not have a right to exist. We do believe Israel has a right to exist.

I am also sorry for my management of the three Council meetings leading up to the April 22 vote. During these meetings, I allowed certain members of this community to interrupt and jeer speakers from the Jewish community who were expressing views that did not align with those of the Palestinian supporters in Council Chambers. All voices within our community should be heard and have a chance to express their views in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

I will be taking some time to reflect upon how I handled this sensitive issue. I am committed to learning from my mistakes and will approach future topics with greater sensitivity to those of all views. The City of Hilliard will also be offering cultural awareness and sensitivity training to all members of Council along with the City’s leadership team.

Cynthia Vermillion
Hilliard City Council President

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