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.
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