Janeen Singer: Thanks to ‘Love March’ attendees
We were so very heartened to see such an outpouring of support for Imani and his family after the racist event that happened just days before. Over 1,000 of you stopped what you were doing to be there.
This is far more than we’ve seen on the bridge in Nevada City for Black Lives Matter events. It’s also far more than we’ve seen for anti-racist workshops held locally. It was beautiful.
As a group of local organizers, we’ve been imagining what it would be like if this many people showed up to prevent this kind of event from happening, rather than showing up in reaction to it. We saw on Facebook that one community member said we must walk for love “to show that the horrible act a few days ago against Jamal’s son is NOT what this community is about.”
Can we consider for a moment that what happened to Imani may be what this community is and has been about?
We don’t mean everyone all the time, but if we’re truly honest about both the racial slurs and the silence of bystanders, Nevada County residents showed themselves to be complicit with racism. Many do not feel that they need to step up to interrupt racism when they see it or they don’t know how. How many of us were on Mill Street and did nothing to help Imani, nothing to stop the perpetrators? How many Mill Street type of incidents have occurred for people of color in our community? This is not an isolated incident, it just happens to be one that many folks heard about.
It’s wonderful that over 1,000 people can show up in the name of love and diversity. And, if real change is going to happen in this community — more is required. Culturally, we tend to react to crises yet many fail to see the embedded patterns that create conditions for racism and hate crimes. It’s even easier to not see those conditions when they benefit you and your place in a hierarchal society that places white people at the top.
We want to invite you to take a deeper look at the conditions that perpetuate racism within yourself, this community, and the country at large. May the love walk be a single step in a journey of difficult and necessary self-examination and examination of the legacy of “Gold Country.” Love is a beginning.
If you’re looking for local resources, check out the work of Creating Communities Beyond Bias, Indivisible Women, and our work through Racial Literacy Nevada County. Each group offers regular local events.
Janeen Singer, Daniela Fernandez, Catherine Stifter and Mags Yen-Chuang Matthews
Racial Literacy Nevada County
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