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‘Still a lot of work to be done’: Racist backlash occurs at Colfax protest promoting racial justice


They carried signs through Colfax bearing phrases like “The injustice you allow against others will become injustice that comes against you,” and “I understand that I’ll never understand, however, I stand for Black Lives Matter.”

A Grass Valley resident, Ariel Elliott led about 15 people. Some of their signs and screams for justice were met Tuesday with applause from passerby, according to Elliott. One response, however, was explicitly a racist backlash.

Sometime during the protest, a man driving a truck said something to the protesters and threw white supremacist and anti-black stickers at the protesters. The images included swastikas, racial slurs and racist caricatures of black people.

Elliott said she turned the racist material over to local police.

Placer County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Angela Musallam said the department received calls and complaints about the stickers, but she would not reveal more information about the incident as it is currently under investigation.

Elliott, who is deciding whether to live in Nevada County or Colfax with her boyfriend, said it was important for her to protest for racial justice in Colfax as Nevada County appears to already have many white allies working to support those in non-white communities. She said it’s also important for white people like herself to speak out in favor of racial justice and racial equality as to alleviate pressure on people of color, who often feel the need to constantly do so.

“We’re going to have to keep our neighbors accountable,” she said. “It starts with us.”

Elliott said she is also protesting because she doesn’t want her black friends to feel unsafe coming to Colfax, and that means instilling accountability among government officers, ensuring they follow the law and protect and serve everyone.

“We still have racist structures that need to be addressed,” she said. “There’s still a lot of work to be done in our small communities.”

Elliott asked the Colfax City Council members to respond to the racist event that occurred at the Tuesday protest. City Council members couldn’t be reached Friday for comment.

While Elliott is adamant that white people can’t be silent in the face of racial injustice, she said progress toward equality takes time, and often means educating people of problems with which they may otherwise be unfamiliar.

“It’s going to take time,” she said, “it’s going to take love and it’s going to take some understanding.”

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey email scorey@theunion.com or call 530-477-4219.


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