The following was submitted to Mayor Cameron Smyth and City Council members:
I expect you to take a more visible and vocal role in helping this community come to terms with the long-overdue cultural shifts taking place in our country. You need to declare that “racism is a public health crisis.” That is what this moment demands of you. Saying these words publicly, for all of your constituents to hear, will assure us that you are listening to the hundreds of people in our community who are now dedicating themselves to the causes highlighted by the protests taking place.
Change is coming — even to Santa Clarita. Smart people (including politicians) will be on the right side of it. This community has a reputation for being behind the times and having our heads in the sand about problematic subjects like cultural bias, sexism and racism, discrimination against poor people, the homeless and other real problems we are insulated from. It can no longer be ignored or dismissed by our governing body.
All Councilman Bob Kellar needed to do in response to the “proud racist” video would’ve been to say, publicly, that he got carried away and misspoke. Instead, we listen to the constant replay of the moment in all its painful iterations. All he needed to do was say out loud that he is conscious of racism and its effects on our community and in our nation. Since he hasn’t, does that mean he IS a proud racist?
It’s not good enough to be “not racist.” It’s passive and preserves systemic racism. What the times call for is an active ANTI-racist approach. We need more public discussion of the issue. It will help raise understanding and start to turn the culture of this community to a more loving, kind and inclusive place.
It IS possible. Will you help lead the way?