Note: the following letter was generated in response to the above Facebook posting by user Tom Tellez. Note that the Mad River Union chose to identify the individual in question, not the signatories to the letter below. Humboldt Roofing Services owner Nick Williams couldn't immediately be reached for comment. Tellez plans a response of his own soon. – Ed.
April 25, 2020
We are a group of folks from different organizations in Humboldt County who are working toward creating a welcoming community where everyone feels that they belong. We work towards “equity for all,” meaning that every person gets the care, support, and services they need to feel safe and thrive.
It has come to our attention that another example of racial hate surfaced within our community this week. Because we are all responsible for saying something when we witness prejudice and hateful acts, we offer this joint statement to express our collective belief that racism and hatred are not acceptable and make many of our community members unsafe.
We know that our communities become defined by how all of us act individually and as a group. Because of the offensive behavior and acts of one or some, the North Coast’s reputation to become known as a safe and welcoming place, is on the line. The way to work towards this, is we have to earn it through our actions, and by holding one another accountable to these values.
Many may be surprised to learn that ideas and behaviors of hate and bias continue to exist here in our community in 2020, especially during a time of stress and difficulties associated with COVID-19. Although some individuals have not been the victims of racial hatred or may not have seen it happen, too many Black, Native American, and people of color in our region have experienced discrimination. Racism does real harm and we, as a community, must be intolerant of it in all of its forms.
As a united group, we believe that the only way to combat such dangerous beliefs and ideologies is by learning about our local and national history and engaging our communities to collectively address these issues in peaceful and constructive ways. We are stronger together and all have learning to do. We are also aware that racial equity work is often slow and challenging, but we remain committed and hope you will too.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
- When you see or hear dangerous racist and white supremacist sentiments (such as expressions of white pride, which are harmful and dangerously racist, overt racial name-calling, etc...), say something and/or file a Discrimination Complaint Form with the Eureka NAACP (www.eurekanaacp.org/discrimination-form).
- Research companies before you do business with them to be sure they share and practice inclusive values.
- Attend virtual equity trainings or webinars by local and national leaders (Teaching Tolerance offers many for free www.tolerance.org/professional-development/webinars).
- Start a Book Club (might we suggest, “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo).
- Listen to a Podcast on Race and Equity (search “9 podcasts that don’t whitewash race” for a great list).
- Donate to support local equity related work ( NAACP - PO Box 1434, Eureka, CA 95502, the Humboldt Area Foundation in support of MARE or others).
In support of a community where we all belong,
Sharrone Blanck, President, Eureka NAACP
Hillarie Beyer, Executive Director, McKinleyville Family Resource Center
Lark Doolan, Community Member
Jennifer Eichstedt, Professor, Dept. of Sociology-Humboldt State University
Catarina Gallardo, Community Member
Roger Macdonald, Superintendent, Northern Humboldt Union High School District
Amanda Mager, City Manager, City of Blue Lake
Melissa Meiris, Founder/Co-Director-Stepping Stone Diversity Consulting
Heidi Moore-Guynup, Superintendent, McKinleyville Union School District
Rachel Montgomery, Community Member
Meridith Oram, TK-12 Humboldt-Del Norte Equity Partnership
Edelmira Reynoso, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI)-Humboldt State U.
Jen Rice, Community Member
Aristea Saulsbury, Co-Director-Stepping Stone Diversity Consulting
Holly Scaglioni and Mary Burke, Co Chairs, McKinleyville Alliance for Racial Equity (MARE)
Ron White, Board Member-Faith in Action
DeAnn Waldvogel, Principal/Superintendent and Daria Lowrey, Board President, Blue Lake School District
*There are many individuals and organizations doing racial equity work in our communities, and the above list is by no means exclusive.