District 8 City Councilman Ron Nirenberg spoke at World Refugee Day yesterday, and his speech was all about COMPASSION. Here’s a sample:

We face many challenges as a community in providing support for refugees. Some believe that government should provide all of the solutions. Other see the private sector as providing the best solutions. I think about it a little differently. The essence of our partners here today, whether they are from the public sector, the private sector or our faith community, is to provide hope, to be better neighbors during times of need. The strength of their work is in the compassion of those who support it, through volunteerism or donations.

Such compassion at the heart of our city was shown in 2005, when the city of New Orleans was crippled by Hurricane Katrina. The images of that natural disaster are burned into the memory of the Gulf Coast, but it was the response of this city that is the enduring story. San Antonio, under the leadership of Mayor Hardberger, opened our homes and public spaces to over 12,000 evacuees, roughly the same number of international refugees in our city today. In a time of great need, our city provided housing, health care, food, and hope.

President Franklin Roosevelt once said, “If your neighbor’s house is on fire, you don’t haggle over the price of your garden hose.” Our Plaza De Armas is dedicated to President Roosevelt, and it’s his words that embody the servant heart of San Antonio. In 2005, in a time of national crisis, San Antonio stood with open arms and welcomed our neighbors, with compassion and without conditions.


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