Elk Grove City Council Receives Report Regarding Next Steps On Race Relations From American Leadership Forum & Hears From Prominent Community Members
At the January 10 Elk Grove City Council Meeting, the American Leadership Forum, the organization that conducted the Town Hall Meetings on race relations, presented the results of their report. They included Recommendations and Proposed Next Steps. They also mentioned Public Awareness Efforts, a Police Department Update, Information on Implicit Bias Training For City Staff, Human Resources and Recruitment, and an update on hate crime numbers by year in Elk Grove.
Recommendations and Proposed Next Steps
Racial Healing Circles
Racial Healing Circles are organized as open, welcome, and inclusive spaces for individuals to focus on racial healing through storytelling and sharing. Circles are typically formed in groups of 10 and usually run for 60-90 minutes. Facilitators begin each circle by sharing a set of group guidelines and principles that set context and create safe space in which the group can participate.
City of Elk Grove leadership and staff training
It is recommended that the City of Elk Grove provide formal implicit bias training to its leadership and key staff.
Follow-up survey to participants
It is recommended that the City of Elk Grove send a survey out to participants as part of the debrief process following the training sessions, and to gauge continued interest in addressing bias in the community.
Institutional & Structural Discussions
Any organization or person can use community-driven feedback to take the lead on discussions with other entities and organizations in order to address residents’ institutional and structural concerns.
Find ways to continue the conversation
We recommend that the City of Elk Grove, Cosumnes Community Services, Elk Grove Unified School District and any other organization or person take proactive steps to determine how to continue the conversation to address bias in Elk Grove.
Continuing the conversation could include any of the following:
- Determine if there are existing groups or Committees that can specifically focus on continuing the dialogue as part of their tasks;
- Post available resources on various websites for residents use and reference;
- Utilize community tools such as social media, newsletters, publications or other available resources to periodically educate residents on the issue of implicit bias.
- Look for opportunities to promote campaigns focused on community, love, and no hate.
Public Awareness Efforts
- No Place for Hate Proclamation – On September 28, 2016, the Elk Grove City Council proclaimed Elk Grove as “No Place for Hate” and presented a Proclamation to the members of the Multicultural Committee. On October 25, 2017 the City Council reaffirmed that Proclamation and strengthened it to be more inclusive. A copy of the current Proclamation can be viewed HERE.
- Staff created and launched the HUMANITY campaign, which is an extension to the No Place for Hate Campaign. It reinforces the message with the use of the words HUMANITY, UNITY, and UNDERSTANDING accompanied by the tagline “Between U and I, there is No Place for Hate.”
- The City Council established an Ad Hoc Committee (Council Member Darren Suen and Council Member Patrick Hume) to host a series of Town Hall meetings on October 23, October 30, and November 6). The purpose of these meetings was to discuss race relations, biases, and ideas on how we move forward as a No Place for Hate Community. These meetings were in response to requests from residents directly affected by the crimes.
- The City created a central location on our website where information and the discussion on race can continue (on main page, go to Current Topics (towards bottom) – Community
Police Department and Investigations
- The Police Department continues its investigations into the hate crimes that occurred in Old Town Elk Grove (the hate note left at DreamGirls Fine Hair Imports and the KKK graffiti at the apartment complex on Emerald Park Drive). Police detectives have met with FBI agents to discuss the evidence obtained in these investigations, and FBI agents have confirmed that all viable leads have been exhausted. Detectives remain hopeful that information will come forward that leads to successful resolution of these investigations.
- Based on feedback from the October 23 Town Hall meeting, multiple residents expressed concern and fear regarding a truck that is flying a confederate flag throughout town. Police department staff have been made aware of this truck and the concern it presents to the community.
- The Police Department continues to make public crime statistic information available to residents. Residents can register their e-mail with www.crimereports.com in order to receive e-mail alerts regarding reported crimes in specific areas or neighborhoods of interest to them.
- The Chief of Police is working on the development of a Chief’s Community Advisory Board (CAB) to serve as a resource for the Chief in developing community policing priorities and strategies.
Implicit Bias Training for City Staff
- Throughout winter 2017, City staff was trained in a two hour course regarding implicit bias. This training was based on research conducted by Dr. Eberhardt of Stanford University. City contract staff are also being offered the same training in January 2018.
- As noted above, additional staff training will be identified through the Diversity Audit and Inclusion Strategy.
Human Resources Recruitment
- Staff has attended the following diversity focused job fairs to help meet and encourage diverse job candidates:
- Greater Sacramento Urban League
- Cosumnes River College Career Faire
- Sacramento Hiring Expo
- Career Diversity Fair
- Elk Grove Unified School District Recruitment Event
- Staff has increased its advertising for recruitment efforts to include specific diverse groups and associations as well as larger networks, including the Professional Diversity Network, the NAACP, National Minority Update, Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Women Law Enforcement, the Asian Career Network, Military 2 Career, Ihispano, and the Black Career Network. Each of these organizations are dedicated to creating a diverse pipeline of potential candidates.
- Staff attended the following community events reaching out to encourage a diverse group of citizens to apply for positions at the City of Elk Grove.
- Multicultural Festival
- Sacramento Aloha Festival
- Links in Law Enforcement
- Sacramento Pride Festival
- The Elk Grove City Council formally established the ten-member Multicultural Committee on September 14, 2011. The Committee meets regularly on the third Tuesday of each month. The Committee is tasked with educating the community about the City’s cultural diversity, advising on best practices to outreach to various ethnic communities and faith-based organizations, providing guidance to the Council on issues impacting multicultural communities, and researching and planning the annual multicultural festival that is attended by over 10,000 participants each year. The Committee completed their sixth festival on August 26.
- The Committee’s tasks are far wider than solely hosting the annual Multicultural Festival. Some of their recent projects have included:
- Developing elements of the Humanity campaign and the Council’s “No Place for Hate” proclamation
- hosting a new Diwali celebration
- Developing an application process and procedure for considering sister cities requests.
Many prominent members of the community, including Amar Shergill, Sharie Wilson, Elk Grove mayoral candidate Tracie Stafford, and Betty Williams, Chapter President of the NAACP, also spoke.
Amar Shergill said that we are not collectively capable to establish policies on race relations. He suggested that we look at other regions and other organizations such as the NAACP and develop on what they have done.
Sharie Wilson expressed her frustration and dismay, that Elk Grove business owners who are near her Dreamgirls Fine Hair Imports & Salon have the audacity to talk to the media and claim that she herself put the hate note on her door. She mentioned that she gets burned twice, once when something happens, and again when people don’t believe her.
Tracie Stafford requested that the Elk Grove City Council “believe us” when she or others talk about incidents. She explained that the norm is to “suck it up” when it comes to African Americans dealing with racism. She talked about how she was scorned for even suggesting that the Town Hall Meetings should be in a place with more lighting so people would feel safer walking to their cars. “If you don’t have the lens to really view the issue, you can’t possibly come up with outcomes that will be beneficial.”
Betty Williams came forward and expressed that she hears the most complaints about the Elk Grove Police Department compared to any other law enforcement in the area. Elk Grove Police Chief Noblett mentioned he hadn’t heard any of the complaints. He asked Betty to forward the complaints to him so he can address them.
The members of the Elk Grove City Council asked questions of city staff and made their own comments. City Councilwoman Stephanie Nguyen emphasized that 1) she does believe the people who have been coming forward, 2) that the City Council does look to the community to see what their opinions are, and 3) that the people at the Town Hall Meetings are not the people that we need to be reaching. City Councilman Darren Suen expressed that he was shocked and disappointed when he heard about the Pleasant Grove high school student’s Snapchat video. He mentioned that one of the questions is how to get people to come out to Town Hall meetings. He also acknowledged that many of the people who probably needed to come to the meetings probably didn’t. City Councilman Pat Hume stated that he believes the majority of people don’t live with hate in their hearts. He emphasized that he sees incidences of non-racism. He emphasized that he wasn’t trying to minimize racial incidents. City Councilman Steve Detrick asked if there was a method to track hate crimes.
Chief Noblett mentioned the number of hate crimes by year in the City of Elk Grove and mentioned that all hate crimes are reported to the FBI.
Hate crimes by year in the City of Elk Grove
2017 – 6
2016 – 3
2015 – 3
2014 – 2
2013 – 4
2012 – 3
2011 – 6