( Michigan Advance ) – As a symbolic gesture and demonstration of solidarity with the people in Gaza, Hamtramck’s all-Muslim City Council has decided to rename a stretch of Holbrook Street to “Palestine Avenue,” between Buffalo Street and Saint Aubin Street.
A resolution posted online before the council meeting on Dec. 12 says that Mayor Amer Ghalib and Hamtramck’s City Council “acknowledge the profound impact of the recent and ongoing events in Gaza resulting in the loss of almost 20,000 people since October 7, 2023, comprising mostly of completely innocent women and children,” referring to Israel’s military campaign there.
The renaming will not have any impact on official postal addresses or other legal designations and is solely a show of “solidarity, remembrance, and compassion for the lives lost in Gaza.”
Council members approved the resolution 4-3, according to Michigan Radio.
One council member who voted “no” said he was against the resolution because of Hamtramck’s controversial “neutrality flag resolution,” which banned LGBTQ+ pride flags from being flown on city property. The policy also prohibits the display of religious, ethnic, racial, and political flags and states that the city won’t provide “special treatment to any group,” though critics say the resolution, which was voted on unanimously, was mainly rooted in homophobia.
“It’s not anything against Palestinians. I just want to stand on the same point when we decided no other flag would fly,” council member Muhith Mahmood said. While Hamtramck’s resolution allows the flying of “nations’ flags that represent the international character of our City,” Palestine is not recognized as a state by the U.S.
Others expressed the same concern, including a Reddit post that asked: “Is this casual political gesture any different than the gay pride flag?”
The new resolution was almost removed from the council meeting’s agenda due to a vote by four members, according to an article by the Detroit Free Press. However, it was brought back following complaints from the public as well as Ghalib, who didn’t want to disappoint residents.
There is no timeline yet for when the new name will be implemented, but signs to mark Palestine Avenue are reportedly currently being made, Metro Times reports.