For April 3, the Committee For Racial Justice (CRJ) monthly workshop title will be DEI : Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – What Does That Look Like? This question will be answered, in part, by a panel of folks involved in three of the areas of focus for current CRJ work: Education, Housing, and Police Oversight.  This workshop, open to all, will start at 6:30 p.m. on zoom on Sunday evening 4/3/22.  To attend, you need to first register at this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYucumsqj8rH9MawNevXSA7ORfmtKKsf8sY 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information to use that night to join the meeting.

CRJ began over 10 years ago with a focus on issues in the educational system and this has remained a priority area.  A recent school board meeting in Santa Monica voted to abolish the tracking system that resulted in mostly white students in 9th and 10th grade English honors classes. Sarah Rodrigez, one of the English teachers at SAMOHI, will lay out some of the issues involved and will bring some students who welcomed this change to share their perspectives. 

This change toward equity was met with some resistance and CRJ hopes to clarify the importance of this decision made by the English Dept. of SAMOHI and adopted by the SMMUSD school board.

Tara Barauskas, Executive Director of Community Corporation in Santa Monica has been working to develop affordable housing since 1999 and is chair of the CRJ housing committee. She will share some of the work of that group. They have developed a survey on the Right to Return program, which seeks to make affordable housing available to those people whose houses were destroyed in order to make way for the 10 Interstate Highway, as well as the mostly Black families displaced by the destruction of the Belmar Triangle area in Santa Monica. 

They also want to make people aware of a recent, disturbing decision to Landmark the home of a leader, in the early part of the last century, of the efforts to block Black people from owning property in or moving to Santa Monica.  Dolores Sloan will share some of her perspective on that decision.  She is in the last year of a 2nd term on the Santa Monica Landmarks Commission and has served as Chair for one term.  She’s also on the Executive Board of the SM Democratic Club, where she founded and is the welcome person of the Club’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

 The third area addressed by the panel will help see what DEI looks like in the first attempt to have a police oversight commission where civilians can have some influence for the first time on how policing is done in Santa Monica.  George Brown, attorney and the Executive Director of the Stanford Center for Racial Justice, recently resigned as chair of the Santa Monica Public Safety Reform and Oversight Commission and he will talk about some of the obstacles and issues that have arisen in the efforts to make this new commission get off to a good start.  He will discuss what folks can do to help efforts to reimagine policing in our neighborhoods.

There will be Q & A to allow for further sharing about all these current efforts to move toward DEI : Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Come and join in this timely discussion.

Join organizers from 6:30 – 8 p.m. on April 3 by clicking https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYucumsqj8rH9MawNevXSA7ORfmtKKsf8sY to register and then you will be sent the link for that Sunday evening meeting.

For more information, call Joanne at (310) 422-5431.

Submitted by Joanne Berlin