Rally speakers promote sanctuary city concept

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Ali Knight, a member of the Mechoopda tribe indigenous to the Chico area, spoke in favor of sanctuary status at a Saturday rally at Downtown Plaza in Chico. “This is Mechoopda land,” Knight reminded about 100 people who gathered to support a sanctuary designation for Chico. “Most of the native population here was decimated. The idea that people don’t belong to a place started a long time ago.

“We are still here and want to promote this as a sanctuary city,” Knight said.

The rally and march Saturday were organized by Shelby Chase, a member of the board of the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, in response to the Feb. 21 City Council vote against considering sanctuary status for Chico. A sanctuary designation could be either symbolic or viewed as a policy statement related to local police cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

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Lu Theis and Angela Sigala, both 19, attended the rally to support the sanctuary concept. “My grandparents escaped North Korea,” said Theis (at left), a Chico State freshman, “and I want Chico to be a place where everyone feels safe.” — story by Leslie Layton / photos by Karen Laslo

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