The City of Elk Grove and Cosumnes Community Services District held the first Town Hall Meeting on race relations on October 23 at Elk Grove Pavilions. Over 30 individuals spoke their thoughts and feelings about race relations in our community. Among the speakers were Sharie & Marcell Wilson of DreamGirls Fine Hair Imports & Salon and Starstruk Apparel, Elsie Easley, Betty Williams, the President of NAACP’s Sacramento Chapter, Dave Neves, the Principal of Elk Grove Elementary, and several high school students.
Most noteworthy, the audience was particularly moved when Elsie Easley spoke. It became obvious that she has seen a lot of racism both in and outside of Elk Grove. She told the audience that her father was murdered by the KKK on August 4, 1968. She told the story of an interracial couple that moved into Elk Grove in the 1960s. In this incident, the African American husband got beaten up for having a white (Caucasian) wife. The perpetrators served time in a penitentiary. Elsie mentioned that Elk Grove is a lot better than it used to be.
Elsie wisely told the audience that she can’t do anything if someone hates her for the color of her skin because that is how God made her. This speech by Elsie was arguably one of the most powerful of the night. Elsie is truly an inspiration to us all.
Especially relevant, Dave Neves, the Principal of Elk Grove Elementary, mentioned that he is a “father” to 866 children. He spoke of his experiences when racial incidents happen in school. As a school educator, he encourages parents to teach their kids how to love and to curb them if their kids talk disrespectfully to others.
A few people mentioned that a black truck had revved up and scared them as they were walking up Elk Grove Boulevard. All individuals reporting this are people of color which suggests they are being targeted.
Several individuals asked if there were any new developments with regard to police follow up of several racist incidents. Since the investigations are ongoing, there are no new developments. However, the incident from September 13 with the racist note left on the door of DreamGirls Fine Hair Imports & Salon is being investigated as a hate crime.
Overall, the meeting lasted approximately 4 hours. This Town Hall Meeting served as a way for people to talk to the community and get their feelings out about things they have experienced. No next steps have been laid out yet. The next Elk Grove Town Hall Meeting will be held Monday October 30 at 6pm at Elk Grove Pavilions.