Racial Justice

SCNA’s Ad Hoc Committee for Racial Justice was developed as a response to the George Floyd protests that started in May of 2020, and for the purposes of supporting diversity, anti-racism education, and advocacy. The committee aims to educate so action will follow; just reading up on Black history and racism will not be enough. We hope you will find your own ways to help make change toward social equity and racial inclusion.

Here, you’ll find resources recommended to anyone looking to educate themselves on anti-racism, Black history, and Black experiences. Encompassed among these resources are not only books but short articles, videos, and podcasts, covering both our national and local history.

Get in touch with the Racial Justice Committee at [email protected].

Please note: The list of resources below is by no means exhaustive, nor does any listing imply endorsement by SCNA.

March 6th SCNA Racial Justice Committee Meeting & Presentation

Join the SCNA Racial Justice Committee March 6 @ Noon via Zoom Presentation by Keyan Bliss and Manuel Buenrostro, Chair and Co-Chair respectively Sacramento Police Review Commission, talk about updates to the city’s “deadly force” standard and commission goals in their 2024 Work Plan

May 10, 2023 meeting with Graciela Cabrillo-Krings and Keyan Bliss, chair and co-chair of the Sacramento Community Police Review Commission

The May 10, 2023 meeting of the SCNA Ad Hoc Racial Justice Committee featured guests Graciela Cabrillo-Krings and Keyan Bliss, chair and co-chair of the Sacramento Community Police Review Commission, who updated the committee on the status of the commission’s 2023 Work Plan. The commission reviews and makes recommendations to the City regarding police department policies, practices and procedures. A brief Q & A with the guests follows their talk. A summary of the two speakers and their talk was featured in the May issue of Viewpoint

June 8, 2022 with Dr. Rita Cameron Wedding

Dr. Rita Cameron Wedding, a Curtis Park resident and professor emeritus and Fulbright Scholar in Tanzania and South Africa, spent 23 years as Chair of the Women Studies Department at Sacramento State University. She spoke to SCNA’s Racial Justice Committee on June 8, 2022 in a wide-ranging two-hour discussion on the subjects of her expertise: implicit bias and critical race theory. A follow up story was featured in Viewpoint. In addition, she kindly followed up with some elaboration on the subjects discussed at the meeting and in the Viewpoint article.

April 2022 Meeting with Sacramento Police Chief Kathy Lester

The Racial Justice Committee of the Sierra-Curtis Neighborhood Association met with Curtis Park-area Captain Dan Monk and Sacramento Police Chief Kathy Lester on April 13, 2022 and discussed a variety of issues. Areas of discussion included efforts to reduce crime in Sacramento including both violent and property crimes; “porch pirate” thefts; whether homeless camps or shelters see an increase in crime nearby; diversity and equity; “focused deterrence” strategies around “hot spots” of violent activity; changes in police procedures after the Stephon Clark tragedy; whether there are increases in property crimes near cannabis distribution centers.

2022 Webinar on Migrant Farm Worker Issues with Marc Grossman

2020 SCNA Webinar Series

In the fall of 2020, the Ad Hoc Committee for Racial Justice hosted a two-part webinar that explored systematic racism and unconscious biases, through the local lens of the Curtis Park neighborhood.

Webinar I: Facing the Long History of Racial Exclusion in Curtis Park

Moderated by Dennis Cusick, Viewpoint Editor
Panelists: Dan Murphy, SCNA and Curtis Park historian and Ginger Rutland, journalist.

Ginger’s mother’s poignant story about her family being redlined out of Curtis Park in 1952 is excerpted in the accompanying article “The Color Lines that Divided Us.”  Dan and Ginger will look back on the last 100 years of attitudes and practices which kept people of color from purchasing homes in Curtis Park.   These will include early 20th Century racist norms, exclusionary restrictions in deeds and covenants, as well as redlining by banks.  Some of this will be shocking since very little is written or spoken about these early practices.  Webinar guests will be invited afterwards to contrast their own experiences of buying a house in Curtis Park in contrast with those of the Rutland family.  Discussion will focus on what we can do today to repair some of these past injustices.

Webinar II: Discovering and Dealing With Unconscious Bias

Dr. Alison Ledgerwood, UCD Professor and Curtis Park neighbor provides practical, helpful means to gain insight into our unconscious biases which we all grew up with and carry around as filters to our experience.

Recommended Reading & Resources

Martin Luther King speaking at California State University, Sacramento on October 16, 1967. CREDIT: Sacramento Bee photo / Erhardt Krause

History: Reflections on Slavery, Civil Rights and More

1619 Podcast (New York Times) | 1916 Project Interactive Article
 A 5-part podcast detailing the history of America in 1619, when the first enslaved Africans arrived to the English colony in Virginia.

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabelle Wilkerson
Wilkerson chronicles the untold stories of black citizens migrating to northern and eastern cities in search for a better life.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent by Isabelle Wilkerson
This book discusses how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.

Stamped From the Beginning: Definitive History of Racist Ideas In American History by Ibram X. Kendi
The National Book Award winning history of how racist ideas were created, spread, and deeply rooted in American society.

A Search for Hallowed Ground (New York Times)
An interactive article about the race massacres in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 1, 1921.

Black History in Sacramento: Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3 (Youtube)
Local author and historian William Burg presents on black history in Sacramento from the Gold Rush to modern times.

Learn about Anti-Racism

So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
An exploration of today’s racial landscape, offering straightforward clarity for readers of all races who wish to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide.

How To Be Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of racist ideas that will help them see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in government policies and in themselves.

White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
A book that explores the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.

Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become A Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad
This 28-day journey shows readers how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.

The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone And How We can Proposer Together by Heather McGee
This book details how racism historically and today hurts not only Blacks but all people when measures to economically and socially exclude one race over another are taken.

The False Promise of Anti-racism Books (The Atlantic)
Texts that seek to raise the collective American consciousness are rendered futile without concrete systemic changes.

“The Urgency of Intersectionality” | Kimberlé Crenshaw at TEDWomen 2016
In this TED Talk, Kimberlé Crenshaw defines intersectionality and describes how race and gender-based violence impacts the lives of black women.

How Good White People Derail Racial Progress (CNN)
An argument for why ‘good white people’ often impede real racial change.

Nice White Parents Podcast (New York Times)
A 5-part podcast about how to build a better school system, and what gets in the way.

Racial Segregation of Neighborhoods, Redlining and Public Housing

The Color Of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
An argument for how segregation in America is the byproduct of explicit government policies at the local, state, and federal levels.

East Lake Meadows: A Public Housing Story (PBS)
Learn the history of East Lake Meadows, a former public housing community in Atlanta, and hear stories from residents that reveal hardship and resilience, and raise critical questions about race, poverty, and the role of public housing in America.

Redlining | Clip from Race — The Power of an Illusion (California Newsreel)
A short clip that provides a basic historical understanding of redlining in the real estate industry. 

How the Racial Wealth Gap Was Created | Clip from Race — The Power of an Illusion (California Newsreel)
A 30 minute clip, illustrating how government policies and private practices helped create the segregated suburbs and the racial wealth gap.

Segregated by Design | Documentary
This examines the forgotten history of how our federal, state and local governments unconstitutionally segregated every major metropolitan area in America through law and policy.  

The Color Lines that Divide Us (Viewpoint Newspaper)
Viewpoint editor Dennis Cusick touches on the history of racist attitudes, restrictive covenants, and government actions that helped shape Curtis Park into a predominantly white neighborhood.

Racism in the Criminal Justice System & Police Brutality

Walter McMillian (left) celebrates after Bryan Stevenson won his release from death row in 1993. CREDIT: Equal Justice Initiative

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
The book discusses race-related issues specific to African-American males and mass incarceration in the United States.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
A powerful true story about the Equal Justice Initiative, the people on death row they represent, and the importance of confronting injustice.

Police: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
John Oliver discusses how the histories of policing and white supremacy are intertwined, the roadblocks to fixing things, and some potential paths forward.

George Floyd, Minneapolis Protests, Ahmaud Arbery & Amy Cooper | The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)
Trevor shares his thoughts on the killing of George Floyd, the protests in Minneapolis, the dominos of racial injustice and police brutality, and how the contract between society and black Americans has been broken time and time again.

Black Voices & Black Experiences

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Ta-Nehisi Coates shares his own personal story growing up Black in the U.S. to reveal reality of life as a Black man dealing with racism in America.

Becoming by Michelle Obama
A memoir by the former United States first lady, the book talks about her roots and how she found her voice, as well as her time in the White House, her public health campaign, and her role as a mother.

Black America Since MLK: And I Still Rise (PBS)
In his new four-hour series, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. embarks on a deeply personal journey through the last fifty years of African American history.

I Am Not Your Negro | Documentary
With narration by Samuel L. Jackson, this film is inspired by James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript, Remember This House, a collection of notes and letters written by Baldwin in the mid-1970s.

If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin | Film Adaptation
James Baldwin has given America a moving story of love in the face of injustice.

When We Were Colored by Eva Rutland
Recounting the civil rights era from the perspective of an African American wife and mother, this memoir travels from growing up in the segregated South before World War II to postwar family life in Sacramento, California.

Children & Young Adult

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X Kendi and re-mixed by Jason Reynolds
For ages 12+, a timely, crucial, and empowering exploration of racism—and anti-racism—in America.

Unity Center | California Museum
An on-going interactive exhibit that celebrates the state’s diverse people, customs and cultures.

I am Enough by Grace Byers
This gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another comes from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo.

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
A novel about a teenage girl who grapples with racism, police brutality, and activism after witnessing her black friend murdered by the police.

The Stars Beneath our Feet by David Barclay Moore
A boy tries to steer a safe path through the projects in Harlem in the wake of his brother’s death in this outstanding debut novel that celebrates community and creativity.

Where to Shop Locally

Please consider supporting Black-owned bookshops, like Underground Books and Carol’s Bookstore, and local bookstores throughout Sacramento. Here are just a few:

For online shopping, Bookshop.org is a great alternative to Amazon. They support local and independent bookstores all over the U.S.

Sacramento Area Community Resources

Featured image depicts Sacramento during the Civil Rights era, courtesy of PBS’s African Americans in CA’s Heartland: The Civil Rights Era documentary