On October 7th, the SCNA Board of Directors took the unusual step of endorsing a statewide initiative on the ballot in the upcoming election:
“The Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association supports a yes vote on Proposition 16 on the ballot in the November 3rd 2020 election. Proposition 16 is a statewide initiative proposition that repeals Proposition 209 of 1996 to allow state and local government to consider race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in taking affirmative action to redress historical discrimination. That discrimination was pervasive and included segregation of our local neighborhoods. It led to economic and social disadvantage for people of color that has endured until the present. Proposition 16 will allow state and local government to act to redress this inequity.”
The adoption of this resolution is the latest in a series of steps by SCNA to advance racial justice in response to the unjustified killing of George Floyd and other people of color. The first step, in June, was a statement of solidarity with “those who have marched and who will march in protest peaceably in support of an end to racial injustice and inequity.” In that statement SCNA pledged to demand: “greater focus and progress on the substantive changes that are badly needed in our social and civic structures to achieve real and tangible equity and justice for all.”
That statement led to the formation of SCNA’s Ad Hoc Committee for Racial Justice. The committee has studied a number of suggestions to increase knowledge about racial injustice and for action to help make change toward social equity and racial inclusion. Among other things the committee hosted a two part Webinar discussion. The first session related the distressing history of racial segregation in our own neighborhood, in part through the actual experiences of neighbor Ginger Rutland’s family in trying to pursue the “American Dream” of home ownership here in the face of this racism. It also examined the results of this segregation, specifically the enduring economic and social disadvantages for people of color that result from excluding them from the engine of American middle class wealth generation, ownership of high quality homes.
The second Webinar session, on October 1st, examined implicit racial bias. It was led by our neighbor, professor Allison Ledgerwood. Allison explained the nature of implicit racism and possible remedial actions. She suggested that remaining a passive beneficiary of the advantages of this system of racial segregation without examining what we, personally and through the organizations and networks to which we belong, could do to remedy its continuing effects is inappropriate.
Members of the Ad Hoc Committee for Racial Justice decided one thing we could do was to ask the SCNA Board to adopt a resolution supporting a yes vote on Proposition 16. After discussion of this history and of the extraordinary gravity of the issue to the peace and well being of our society the SCNA Board agreed.