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Redwood City
Saturday, March 25, 2023

Redwood City's ethnic equity policies insufficient: residents

Pamela Cruz. Peninsula 360 Press

Redwood City. Redwood City citizens feel that local government's ethnic equity practices are not sufficient and expressed their concerns and recommendations for moving forward on the issue, which has affected local and national levels.

During a meeting with Redwood City authorities, citizens pointed out that the actions carried out by the local police with people of color, Latinos or Asians are not correct, because they abuse the force and weapons they have.

And, "while current practices and services have many strengths, we also see opportunities for improvement," said city officials who, on Monday afternoon, held a study session where government and citizens held a dialogue about current concerns regarding best practices in racial equity.

Mayor Diane Howard stressed that while progress "will not happen overnight, we are working on it one step at a time"; however, it is necessary that the actions are taken together: government and citizens to move towards the same point.

Considering that nearly half of Redwood City's population is Latino, Asian or of African descent, Mayor Diane Howard; Vice Mayor Shelly Masu; and Councilmember Alicia Aguirre heard the Council's recommendations, which lay out a long-term agenda that focuses on making public safety, city services and the community whole.

Recommendations from the City's Ad Hoc Police Committee and the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center suggest: Equity in public safety and participation in a pilot program with San Mateo County to partner mental health clinicians with police officers responding to crisis calls.

As well as improved data collection, analysis and transparency, and the creation of a new City Council Public Safety Committee to guide public safety initiatives.

In addition to equity in all City services by amending the Strategic Plan to make equity a fundamental guiding principle and funding diversity and inclusion related initiatives for City employees, while increasing support for diversity and equity initiatives for volunteer leadership.

On the other hand, they propose to improve equity in the Redwood City community by working with the Redwood City 2020 partnership to improve equity in education, while working with the Belmont Redwood Shores School District to improve educationally and, in doing so, clarify the role of the school resource officer.

However, local officials noted that both the Ad Hoc Police Committee and city staff have focused on listening to the community through dialogue sessions, town hall meetings and with stakeholders.

In this regard, he stressed that alternative models for police supervision are being sought, in addition to a review of the use of force by police forces, as well as escalation policies.

At the nearly two-hour study session, officials said the city council formally approved the Obama Foundation's Mayor's Pledge, which calls for mayors and local officials to review and reform police use-of-force policies, redefine public safety, and combat systemic racism within law enforcement.

They added that the frequency of ongoing racial and cultural diversity training has increased, and in partnership with the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center (PCRC), community dialogues are held.

He added that Resolution 15877 has been adopted, which reaffirms the city's commitment to racial equity, while calling on the Arts Commission to develop a work plan to create a mural or monument that reflects the city's commitment to racial equity and inclusion.

These actions, said Mayor Howard, are the beginning of a path that will be taken step by step to be able, together with the citizens, to reach agreements that will allow Redwood City to become an example and example for other cities in terms of racial equality, a situation that today afflicts the entire country.

Pamela Cruz
Pamela Cruz
Editor-in-Chief of Peninsula 360 Press. A communicologist by profession, but a journalist and writer by conviction, with more than 10 years of media experience. Specialized in medical and scientific journalism at Harvard and winner of the International Visitors Leadership Program scholarship from the U.S. government.


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