Re: “Rain or shine, SCV honors MLK,” news story, Jan. 17.
The Free Dictionary defines “unity” as “1. The state or quality of being one or united into a whole: 2. The state or quality of being in accord; harmony: 3. A whole that is a combination of parts: a group of ideas that taken together constitute a unity.”
Not one of these definitions was taken into consideration for the planning of the second Unity Walk. Someone informed Mr. Jose Herrera of The Signal that the event was established in partnership with the city’s Human Relations Roundtable, which is totally not true.
As President Valerie Bradford of the NAACP Santa Clarita chapter stated in the article, there are multiple organizations in the city that hold, support, and put into practice the beliefs and mission of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., including the NAACP Santa Clarita, Black Santa Clarita Valley, Jack and Jill, and the Divine 9. All of these organizations represent the Black community, and not one of them were consulted in the planning of the celebration.
Whose face was the Santa Clarita City Council trying to slap by having Rep. Mike Garcia speak at an event that should try to promote unity? Our newly elected Assemblywoman Pilar Shiavo, whom the Black community helped to elect, was standing by but not allowed to speak. Instead, the city selected Garcia to speak, who was quoted as saying, “Even today, while we’re not perfect, we continue to get better.” I truly hope he was speaking about himself.
Why would he even have the nerve to speak at a Unity Walk when he voted “no” on H.R. 7120, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020. Then he voted “no” again on H.R. 1280, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Both of his “no” votes on theses issues helped to tear down instead of building unity in all areas of Los Angeles County, and even across the nation.
Garcia also voted “no” on H. Res 908, “Condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19.” To make matters worse, Rep. Garcia voted “no” on H.R. 4, the “John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021.” He also voted “no” again on H.R. 574, the “Freedom To Vote: John R. Lewis Act.”
It is the duty of Rep. Mike Garcia to represent all the citizens of California’s 27th Congressional District, but his voting record clearly shows that he does not.
Rep. Garcia’s voting record shows that he does not represent the Asian and Black communities of Santa Clarita. Until he can clearly show that he can be a representative to the entire community he serves, I would suggest the City Council selects someone more suited to perform that task.
In closing, I would like to say the Unity Walk being led by Rep. Mike Garcia, Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Laurene Weste and Santa Clarita City Mayor Jason Gibbs was another slap in the face. I am assuming the Santa Clarita City Council could not find a person of color worthy enough to lead the 50 followers on the Unity Walk.
“I do think there must be centralized leadership in the sense that, say, in our struggle all of the leaders coordinate their efforts, cooperate and, and at least evince a degree of unity.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
Editor’s note: Based on information provided by the city of Santa Clarita, the story was factually correct: According to the city, “The city of Santa Clarita and the city’s Human Relations Roundtable collaborated on creating last year’s inaugural MLK Unity Walk. As with other city events, they are planned and coordinated by the city.”