Racism is Real. Palmdale’s Summerwind Elementary School Reminds Us of That
The recent event at Palmdale’s Summerwind Elementary School where four adults showcased themselves holding a noose is absolutely disgusting. However, it highlights the urgent need for us — as a community — to acknowledge the fact that racism exists. None of us have escaped its insidious grasp. We need to begin facing the very real and painful history of our nation. Although, we may not have been the architects of slavery or racist oppression, we have been unwitting and active participants in the systems and structures that continue to promote its destructive aims.
We can no longer turn away our heads to the systemic racism that permeates the fabric of our society. As parents, we never want to have to worry if our children will be safe and if they’re receiving a quality, unbiased education. Yet, the recent events at Summerwind Elementary School lifts the veil to the reality that racism has no boundaries. It can and is prevalent everywhere even in our schools. In fact, there has been a 94% increase in hate incidents across the country in grades K to 12.
Furthermore, the Attorney General’s recent report of hate crime in California shed light on the fact that hate crime events involving an anti-black/African American and anti-Hispanic/Latino bias increased by 20.3% and 51.8% respectively between 2016 and 2017.
Racism. Is. Real.
We ring the alarm not to scare people into the shadows or to blanket themselves from society, but to encourage us all to call out racism everywhere and any time we see it. Talk about the impact it has on the lives of our family, friends, neighbors. Hold each other accountable for our actions and show compassion by being honest about the problem because we all need to be part of the solution. We cannot allow these statistics to continue to be our reality.
Change starts with us. We can and must sound the alarm if and when we see racism glorified, rationalized, written under the guise of law or policy or attempts to sweep the ugly truth under the carpet.
We are better than these statistics. We can write a new history together. One that truly reflects who we want to be and not who we learned to be. We have a lot of work to do. We must be courageous enough to face our truth, stare it down and write a new truth together. So let’s start being the change we wish to see in the world.
Kim Evon is the Executive Vice President of SEIU Local 2015 which represents over 385,000 home care, skilled nursing facility, and assisted living center workers throughout California. As the largest Local in California, SEIU 2015 members represent every race, every faith, and every ethnicity.