25 Nov Diversity is Our Strength, Our Gift, and Our Path Forward
The national election has left many in Culver City horrified. Instead of breaking the glass ceiling, it’s as if the sky has fallen, and the highest office has espoused the lowest ideologies: bigotry, sexism, religious intolerance, mass deportations, torture, homophobia, anti-intellectualism, the suppression of the free press, ecological destruction, climate injustice, the end of civil discourse, the end of reproductive freedom, the list goes on and on… In conversations with my constituents, there is a palpable sense of dread and near disbelief that politics grounded in division and hate have won the electoral college and the election – though, significantly, not the popular vote.
Contrast the national election with local results, and a very different picture emerges: that of a people willing to invest in critical infrastructure for clean water (Culver City’s Measure CW), healthy transportation (LA County’s Measure M), to provide housing and services for homeless individuals (LA’s Measure HHH), champion bilingual education (CA’s Prop 58), uphold the country’s very first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags (CA’s Prop 67), among many other important progressive initiatives. According to our local paper, the Culver City Observer, “Hillary Clinton captured almost 81 percent of the vote to a mere seven percent for Donald Trump in the city, besting the new President Elect by 5.6 to 1.”
It is clear that local action is more important today than ever.
On Wednesday, Police Chief Scott Bixby posted a letter to the community, reassuring all that “The Culver City Police Department is committed to protecting everyone’s rights, regardless of immigration status.” (see letter here). The evening before, the Culver City Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution declaring all CCUSD campuses as Safe Zones:
“The language in the resolution makes it clear that CCUSD schools are safe spaces for the diverse students and families the District serves – from every walk, talk, country and religion there is. In fact, CCUSD is widely known as one of the most diverse school districts in the state, something the District has long celebrated. Students in the District are 35 percent Hispanic, 25 percent white, 25 percent black and 15 Asian.”
– from 11/23/16 CCUSD Press Release
A couple of weeks before the election, as part of a national movement to combat the rising tide of anti-Muslim discrimination, the Culver City Council passed a resolution in solidarity with Muslims, rejecting the politics of divisiveness, hate and bigotry:
This photo was taken last weekend, when I participated on a panel discussing racial, social, economic and environmental justice at the wonderful Brasil Brasil Cultural Center. It felt good to explore solutions, identify actions, and share concerns as a community. Moving forward, we will need to continue to celebrate and affirm our diversity. We will need to stand up for the civil rights of our friends, our neighbors and ourselves. We will need to defend those principals with peaceful protest, local policies, and sustained political pressure. And, as my friend Rev. Heidi Worthen Gamble told me:
“We need to be very clear that there is a difference between outrage and hate.”