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Elk Grove Community Leaders On Black Lives Matter & Racism

Elk Grove Community Leaders On Black Lives Matter & Racism

Photo by Bobbie Singh-Allen

The death of unarmed black man, George Floyd, at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer sparked protests and outrage across the nation. It was no different in Elk Grove, as people expressed their anger through protests, which brought along with them acts of vandalism. Here is where the community leaders stand on Black Lives Matter, racism, and discrimination.

EGUSD School Board

Bobbie Singh-Allen is a member of the Elk Grove Unified School District Board of Education. She herself was active on social media when protests erupted after Floyd’s death. On May 27th, she stated: ” To my friends of color, especially my black community. I know this week is tough. I love you. I see you. I know you hurt. I stand with you. Please don’t surrender in despair. You have a wonderful community here for you. We rise together and fight injustice together. ”

On her Facebook page, she implored leaders from both the local and national levels to stop staying silent. “It’s time for elected leaders to roll up their sleeves and get to work.”

On June 2nd, she posted:

“Proud to join our teachers, students and community for a peaceful protest in Elk Grove. The time is now to get to work!!
The time is now to fight injustice and inequality!!
The time is now to acknowledge systemic racism!!
The time is now for activism, alliances, and advocacy.
The time is now to Rise Together!!
The time is now to shout BLACK LIVES MATTER!!!!!
#GeorgeFloyd #UnitedWeStand #Humanity #EGUSDProud”

True to her word, Singh-Allen was seen at a protest on June 6th in Downtown Sacramento.

“Attended a peaceful and uplifting protest supporting #GeorgeFloyd. Over 20,000 people here. Marched with Senator Pan, CCSD Rod Brewer, Councilwoman Stephanie Nguyen, Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, Sacramento Mayor Steinberg, the Sacramento Kings, and more. There is a lot of work to do and we all need to participate for real change. If nothing changes then nothing changes. Central message by all the speakers: #Vote #BlackLivesMatter #NoJusticeNoPeace”

Additionally, another member of the board spoke out. Nancy Chaires Espinoza’s Facebook profile picture is captioned: “George’s Life Matter, Black Lives Matter.” She is the Board Clerk and Trustee Area 2. She also shared a list of books to discuss the uncomfortable topic of racism. On May 28, Espinoza wrote, “I remember the 1992 LA riots as my generation expressed its outrage at the failure to treat another black man, Rodney King, with basic human dignity. That was almost 30 years ago and we have not made any meaningful progress.”

Cosumnes Community Services District

Jim Luttrell is the vice president of the Board of Directors for the Cosumnes CSD. He supports Black Lives Matter and the protests that do not impact businesses.







Rod Brewer is a Director for the Board and posted on Facebook that Cosumnes CSD is “ committed to removing systemic barriers to social justice and believes everybody in our community should feel safe and connected.”

“It would be nice to say ‘All Lives Matter,’ but, until my people are treated with respect and dignity without being ignored, dismissed and treated as second class citizens, Black Lives Matter. It is the story that many Blacks/African Americans have experienced and endured for many decades and centuries. We must take this opportunity to lean into this particular moment to have honest, difficult, and meaningful discussions with our friends and allies on race, bigotry and equity so we can make the changes necessary for our American society to reach its fullest potential. Crispus Attucks, a Black man, was the first person recorded as paying the ultimate sacrifice in the Revolutionary War because he believed in an ideal nation that would provide opportunity, truth, justice, fairness, and freedom. Now is the time for all of us to step up and hold government, at all levels, accountable to fulfill the social compact that Mr. Attucks believed in and died for.” 

Jaclyn Moreno is another elected official serving in the Cosumnes Community Services District. She wants the officials of Elk Grove to do more. Moreno wrote an Op-Ed on Elk Grove Tribune, where she expressed “disappointment with our elected officials in the city of Elk Grove” because they had not announced their support for Black Lives Matter. (Shortly after the posting, the city did announce their support for the organization.) Moreno also demanded the ban of chokeholds by the EGPD, along with exhausting all options before shooting. She also wanted the banning of shooting moving vehicles and comprehensive reporting. She urged the city officials to do more for the community.

“There are several preventative policies that, when put in place, are shown to dramatically reduce the likelihood of police violence and as an elected official, I am standing with the Black community who has been calling on these preventative measures for years. It’s time for the city council and the mayor to listen and to commit to take immediate action on the following:

Create an independent, all-citizen police commission. Independent police commissions that have power over policy reforms has been shown to increase transparency and accountability while creating a space for improved community relations.

Establish a team of mental health professionals, social workers and/or crisis counselors to send as first responders to calls involving mental health crisis. Reallocating city funds to include a mental health crisis team has been shown to reduce police use of force in these situations by 40 percent.

Immediately implement use of force policies recommended by Campaign Zero. Campaign Zero researched police departments across the United States and found that departments that implement more restrictions on police use of force kill significantly fewer civilians. Eight policies were identified which, if implemented, the average police department would have 54 percent fewer killings. Not to mention, departments that have these policies also found an overall decrease in officer on-the-job-injuries. The City of Elk Grove currently has policies reflecting 4 of the 8.”

As of the time of this article, the EGPD has complied and updated their policies. However, Moreno does want a team of mental health professionals and counselors to be on call if a mental health crisis were to arise. Additionally, she wants a zero-force policy and the creation of an independent all-citizen police force.

Elk Grove City Council

On June 10, The City of Elk Grove’s Facebook page made this statement shortly after the City Council concluded its meeting. Also, the council reiterated its pledge to be a city that is welcome to all. Furthermore, it is committed to being a diverse and inclusive place:

“The City of Elk Grove rejects, discourages, and condemns racism, discrimination, and any hate-based conduct.

In 2016, our City Council passed a proclamation that declared Elk Grove as No Place for Hate. We stand by that premise today and we stand with our community to affirm that Black Lives Matter.

Over the past several days, Elk Grove has sought ways to express its sadness and anger over the tragic death of George Floyd and countless others across the country victimized by a system intended to protect them. We are grateful to the community members who engaged in peaceful protests in the city this week. Through these protests, our community has been able to meaningfully express their concerns and we have been able to listen.

As an organization, we are committed to continuing to be part of the conversation and to act in a way that reflects a culture based on respect, dignity, and inclusion. On Monday, Chief of Police Timothy Albright announced changes to the Police Department’s use of force policy. This is an important step and part of an ongoing effort to ensure that our policies align with our values. We don’t have all the answers, but we are listening and learning.

Elk Grove does many things that we can and should be proud of. Now is the time to look at what more we can do. Because we know we can always do better and will strive to do so.”

From Mayor Steve Ly:  “Yesterday, I watched as Mr. George Floyd was laid to rest in his hometown of Houston, Texas. It was an emotional day for my family and me. As the Mayor, I sought this office to affect change. Now is that time. I accept the challenge by Former President Obama to work with stakeholders and organizers to continue to examine our policies and procedures to impro, our organization and bring about positive change.  Chief Albright announced on Monday, June 8th, that the Elk Grove. Police Department has taken the charge to ban the carotid hold. which is a first step. I want you to know that I stand with you. I stand with the African-American Community because Black Lives Matter. Together, we will heal and get through this. God bless you and God bless these United States of America.” This statement was shared from the mayor’s Facebook page.

Darren Suen had this to say: “Absolutely, Black Lives Matter. Although disgusted and angry with what happened to George Floyd, perhaps the consolation is that we will be able to make progress in the fight against injustice against the black community or any one.

Whereas it’s easy to focus on the civil unrest, the understandable anger, the injustice, I hope people will instead focus on the peaceful protesters and all Americans and officers who share the pain and recognize the unjust actions that have taken place.

These are the places of commonality where we can work together to make things different, to make things better and more just for all.”

Stephanie Nguyen is also supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement. She is not only the Council but is the Executive Director of the non-profit Asian Resources Inc. This is part of her statement:

“Sacramento – This moment is an important inflection point for our country. We have the chance to learn from our long history of racial injustice and fundamentally change our criminal justice system. We at Asian Resources, Inc. stand with the Black community. As news broke on the unjust murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, we shared the grief and outrage like many in the Black community, other communities of color, and others in our country. As protests continue to sweep across our nation, we acknowledge the deep pain felt by the oppression for hundreds of years of our black brothers and sisters.

And yet through this pain, we know that history has demonstrated time and time again that when we stand together, our resilient communities gain strength and make progress towards positive social change. Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities must stand up in the fight against systemic racism and support our black neighbors, friends, and family. In the background, COVID-19 continues to impact communities of color disproportionately and increased hate crimes against AANHPI communities have resulted from the fear and scapegoating by the administration for the consequences of the coronavirus. Perhaps more dangerous than COVID-19 is the pervasive systemic racism that continues to infect our communities – racism is a public health crisis.

How do we support the black community? We must listen to our black community leaders, amplify their voices, join them on the streets, and donate to black-led organizations leading the efforts to dismantle systemic racism and systems of oppression.

Black lives matter today and always. We must do better as a community. We encourage you to start having conversations with your family and friends because change starts within our own homes.”

Photos by Darren Suen

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About The Author

Jennifer Ip

Jennifer Ip is our Staff Writer. Jennifer is a writer and small business owner in Elk Grove. She and her husband run a dog walking business together, and she also holds a Bachelor's degree in English. She has four years of publishing experience in different areas of writing: education, marketing, and blogging. Jennifer loves a good book, homemade food, and cuddling up with her dogs.

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