Countrywide Coalition Earns $150K To Study Institutionalized Racism

Filed Under (The HELL You Say!) by admin on 02-07-2010

“Here we have a stellar example of far left racists and racial separatists capitalizing on white guilt and the misguided public relations policies of major corporations. The organizations involved (the Brown Berets of Aztlan and the Santa Cruz County Community Coalition to Overcome Racism), as well as former Santa Cruz Councilman Simba Kenyatta, run the range from hypersensitive diversity zealots to overtly Marxist.” –

Erik Rush

Mr. Rush is the author of the best seller Negrophilia From Slave Block to Pedestal America’s Racial Obsession, Negrophilia: From Slave Block to Pedestal – America’s Racial Obsession


(Santa Cruz Sentinel) Armed with new grant funding, a countywide coalition studying systemic racism vowed Tuesday to expand its work documenting the experiences of people of color in vital government-run services.

On the courthouse steps, activist Simba Kenyatta, Santa Cruz City Councilman Tony Madrigal and other steering members of the Santa Cruz County Community Coalition to Overcome Racism announced that the group has won a three-year, $150,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The coalition will use the funding to hire two organizers and an administrator to take a deeper look into where and how racism exists within education, law enforcement and immigration in the county.

“Systemic racism is something we all need to overcome,” Madrigal said. “We strongly feel that, only through coming together can we make Santa Cruz into the Santa Cruz we can all be proud of.”

Madrigal and others founded the coalition three years ago after the councilman raised questions about possible racial profiling of Latinos by police during Halloween festivities downtown in 2006, a charge officers denied. No official complaint was ever made, but Madrigal and other concerned community members used the opportunity to open a greater dialogue about the experience of historically underrepresented minorities.

Since then, the coalition has held several “listening sessions” around the county, offering a place for police and other authorities to hear stories from people of color about what they perceive as institutionalized racism. With the new funding, the coalition plans to study various aspects of how minorities are represented and treated within schools and the justice system.

For instance, the coalition could study arrest and incarceration rates, or why a greater number of Latinos don’t serve on school boards for districts that have large Latino student populations. Tomas Alejo, a member of the Brown Berets and brother of Watsonville Mayor Luis Alejo, said racism often exists just beneath the surface in complex, subtle ways.

“Santa Cruz is a great place to start his community dialogue,” he said.

Kenyatta said the coalition’s work is designed not to cope with racism after it’s occurred, but rather to change the culture within institutions to keep it from happening. “We are trying to stop the racism before it gets out,” he said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in New York City in 1961, from 1975 to 1985 columnist and author Erik Rush was a club, stage and studio musician. He’s also been involved in biomedical research, sales, marketing and media production.


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