When Denver Mayor Michael Hancock was invited to deliver a keynote address at the African Leadership Group (ALG) International Business Program on January 28, the mayor’s prepared remarks for the evening were about something else; not about executive orders from the Trump administration.
But when faced with protests and disruptions at Denver International Airport the night of his appearance before the ALG, the mayor said he abandoned his scripted remarks. Instead, Hancock decided to focus his improvised speech on the reasons why the city will not follow orders from the President of the United States.
“As Americans, certainly as an African-American, along with the Jewish community, we have seen this before,” Hancock said to a crowd of more than 150 people.
The mayor said he was calling on leaders all over the country not to stand for the administration’s orders, just like they have rejected similar orders in the past. Just as he spoke about why the city should reject the orders, the crowd burst into applause in apparent approval of his statements.
The mayor said the city’s activities, which include welcoming people from all over the world, would be impeded by the administration ban from entry into the U.S. of citizens from other nations of the world.
“Our goal is to encourage students to come here to study, to bring their intellectual capital to join with us as we prepare them for participation in this world,” Hancock said.
As far as what he is going to do, Hancock said, “We are not going to stand for it tonight.”
While this is not news any more than it has been, the city of Denver has received the label of a “sanctuary city” because of its policy to not prosecute so-called undocumented immigrants when they are “suspected” to be in violation of federal immigration laws.
The ALG event was supposed to focus on the city’s international strategic plan that is making Denver a globally competitive and internationally connected city.
However, the events that began at DIA and all across the world following the U.S. administration’s actions (vis-à-vis entry from selected countries in the Middle East and the African continent), clearly upended Hancock’s plans for the night.
Out of the seven countries whose citizens the Trump administration has barred from entering the U.S., three are African nations; Libya, Somalia, and Sudan.
In attendance were leaders from around Denver, including the CEO of Denver Botanic Gardens Brian Vogt, lawyer Dick Clark, District 29 Senate Representative Rhonda Fields, Paul G. Bergman, Jr., Director of U.S. Export Assistance Center, for Colorado and Wyoming, U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as many immigrants from the African community.