Letter: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Share:
Phoenix Coalition on Sunday morning painted the Black Lives Matter sign on Second St

By Davis Phoenix Coalition

The Davis Phoenix Coalition would like to join the growing chorus of voices expressing disappointment in the DJUSD Board.  On July 2nd, the four members appointed a replacement to fill the seat vacated by Dr. Cindy Pickett, who was serving as president and brought a qualified and thoughtful voice from the perspective of a person of color to the leadership collective.

In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the national conversation that ensued around institutional lack of justice and representation for BIPOC, it seems incongruous that the education leaders of a city that prides itself on its progressivism and inclusion would not ensure its education leadership reflects the diversity of its students by appointing this vacant seat to a highly qualified POC. Especially given that one such person did apply and made it to the final selection. It should be noted that DJUSD reports that 47% of its student population is non-white.  Whether unconscious bias or a lack of understanding of this moment in social justice, the decision made by the remaining board members failed to widen their collective leadership with a voice to ensure more of our diverse demographics were fairly represented. This matters because in order to prevent the perpetuation of systems with one-dimensional standards, administrator(s) themselves must bring depth and diversity.

The Davis Phoenix Coalition’s mission is to engage and unite the Davis community in eliminating intolerance, preventing hate, and promoting a broader civic culture that embraces all aspects of our diverse community.  We invite everyone to reflect deeply on who the voices of our leadership are and work actively to confront our own unconscious biases when exercising the great power of the vote, choosing our representatives carefully so they reflect as many voices as possible as are present in our diverse community.  Only if we do this will we nurture a multi-dimensional framework that impacts our students every day of their education, planting the seeds of eliminating intolerance, preventing hate and promoting a broader civic culture that embraces all aspects of our diverse community.

Editor’s note, the Phoenix Coalition asked to add:

DPC, in expressing our belief that the commitment to diversity when choosing from an equally qualified pool, neglected to note that Bob Poppenga was the lone dissenting vote. We thank him for this thoughtful decision. It is voices like his that bring systemic change.

To sign up for our new newsletter – Everyday Injustice – https://tinyurl.com/yyultcf9


Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$USD
Sign up for

Share:

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

Related posts

45 thoughts on “Letter: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”

  1. Alan Miller

    > Phoenix Coalition on Sunday morning painted the Black Lives Matter sign on Second St

    Was this a sign for “Black Lives Matter” the sentiment . . . or Black Lives Matter the organization?

    1. Ron Glick

      I keep seeing this organization vs grass roots argument usually from Trump supporters. So far it doesn’t seem to be getting much traction with voters.

        1. Tia Will

          Alan

          I participated in the BLM demonstration at the park and march to the Police Station. You knew this and never once asked me if I went based on sentiment or if I belonged to the organization? Why does it matter now if it didn’t then?

        2. Alan Miller

          The reality that many people and organizations support the concept of Black Lives Matter, unaware of the goals and politics of Black Lives Matter the organization.  Some corporations have even sent huge sums of money to Black Lives Matter, as the the ‘go to’ organization for the sentiment.  I suggest that if people, organizations or corporations want to support the sentiment of Black Lives Matter in a monetary fashion, that they do so with eyes wide open and find organizations in line with their beliefs of how the sentiments and goals can be accomplished.  I you support the goals and politics of the Black Lives Matters organization as such, by all means, support them monetarily.

          This is an odd situation, which I can’t think of a parallel for, where a the signature slogan for a worldwide movement is also the name of an organization with exactly the same name.  I don’t know if the organization took steps to make this happen, or were just the lucky recipients of having a name of a slogan that took off worldwide.

        3. Richard McCann

          …unaware of the goals and politics of Black Lives Matter the organization.

          At this point, the movement and slogan has largely taken on a life of its own. The BLM Organization may have its own agenda, but I doubt that it has any more than a marginal influence on the larger movement. There’s no question that the slogans being painted everywhere have no reference to the organization. (It’s a bit like saying that one should have questioned the anti-Vietnam War movement because the Weathermen was associated with it.)

           

        4. Alan Miller

          It’s a bit like saying that one should have questioned the anti-Vietnam War movement because the Weathermen was associated with it.

          I would say it’s more like going to the Vietnam-era organization the “Weathermen” and asking them if they are expecting rain over the weekend.

    2. Tia Will

      Alan

      I participated in the BLM demonstration at the park and march to the Police Station. You knew this and never once asked me if I went based on sentiment or if I belonged to the organization? Why does it matter now if it didn’t then?

      1. Alan Miller

        That demonstration being a BLM demonstration – I don’t even know if it was organized by that organization or not and first I’d heard it was a ‘BLM’ demonstration and don’t know what that means.  I have no idea why I would ask you why you went.  Participating in a march is not the issue – the issue is understanding what the organization stands for, especially if contributing monetarily.

    3. David Greenwald

      I see no one answered Alan’s question.  “Black LIves Matter” is a concept, #BlackLivesMatter is the organization.  This was the former.

  2. Ron Oertel

     On July 2nd, the four members appointed a replacement to fill the seat vacated by Dr. Cindy Pickett, 

    And apparently did so in a very “racially biased, insensitive manner” – according to the argument presented here and elsewhere.

    Maybe they should all resign, following this logic? Those folks obviously can’t be trusted.

    And since the article brings up George Floyd, shouldn’t the logic be that an African-American be selected for the position? Or, given the admirable history of the Phoenix Coalition, shouldn’t some of LGBT status be selected?

    Or, is it suggested that someone of any color (other than “white”) can better-represent these last two “categories”?

    1. Ron Glick

      I haven’t heard of anyone calling for the resignations of the 3 person board majority who voted for Klineberg.

      You seem to be wanting to create these extreme arguments to prove some sort of reverse discrinination or identity politics. I will admit that there are identity politics involved here, as one among many issues, that caused so many to brave the pandemic to sign the petition. The question becomes whether identity politics is a bad thing when the demographic disparity between the board and the population it serves is large.

      1. Ron Oertel

        I haven’t heard of anyone calling for the resignations of the 3 person board majority who voted for Klineberg.

        Shouldn’t they, based upon their arguments?  Or, are they simply willing to give them a pass for their “gross insensitivity”?

        And, if they’re still the “majority”, then won’t they continue to impose racist policies (whatever that means, within the scope of the decisions that they make)?

        The question becomes whether identity politics is a bad thing when the demographic disparity between the board and the population it serves is large.

        Ultimately, there’s no way to ensure diversity, without “quotas” (implied, or actual). And from what I’ve seen, people (of any skin color) usually have a negative reaction to that, extending into their guts.

        By the way, where was the concern regarding a purposefully discriminatory housing proposal (which limits ownership based upon “connections”)? And, what is the relative importance of that, compared to an unpaid school board position (of which no one has a problem with the appointee, other than the color of her skin)?

        1. Tia Will

          Ron

          where was the concern regarding a purposefully discriminatory housing proposal (which limits ownership based upon “connections”)?”

          I can answer that. Variations on that concern have shown up many times in the comments to articles on that subject on the Vanguard. I know because I have written several of them myself.

        2. Ron Oertel

          I can answer that.

          I don’t think you can, other than speaking for yourself.  (I don’t remember your comments.)

          David and others downplayed it.  The council (of which Robb was part of) approved it.

          But, these same folks are now concerned about a selection of a white person for an unpaid school board position.  And, they had no concerns about the “process”, until it led to that result.

           

        3. Alan Miller

          Ultimately, there’s no way to ensure diversity, without “quotas”

          Quotas are a nice idea, not so great when it comes to implementation.

        4. Ron Oertel

          Quotas are a nice idea, not so great when it comes to implementation.

          The real problem is that it impacts individuals (e.g., someone doesn’t get a job or admission to college solely due to the color of their skin).  Which can, and does, impact more than “white” individuals.

          Which creates resentment (and perhaps fosters more racism?)

          It ultimately diminishes “real” accomplishments, as well.

    2. Eric Gelber

      And apparently did so in a very “racially biased, insensitive manner” – according to the argument presented here and elsewhere.

      Ron – I don’t think racial bias has been suggested. I believe the sentiment among many members of the public is that there was not adequate consideration of diversity in the selection process. And, regardless, many felt that, rather than filling the vacancy themselves, the Board should have referred the matter to the voters, which is now, apparently, what will happen.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Ron – I don’t think racial bias has been suggested. I believe the sentiment among many members of the public is that there was not adequate consideration of diversity in the selection process. 

        I believe those are the same things.

        And, regardless, many felt that, rather than filling the vacancy themselves, the Board should have referred the matter to the voters, which is now, apparently, what will happen.

        Nothing wrong with that.  But apparently, no one had a concern about the “process” until a white person was selected to fill a vacancy created by someone leaving.

        Leaving it in the hands of voters does not always create the “desired result”, either.  Far from it, really.  (Though it might in this case.)

         

      2. Ron Oertel

        Eric:  You’re one of the few on this blog whom I find to be consistent, regarding your views of this overall issue.  (Just wanted to note that, and thank you for it.)  This demonstrates personal integrity, on your part.

        A lot of what people “object” to on this blog is when internal inconsistencies are put forth, in the articles or by commenters. And when this is inevitably pointed out, defensiveness often arises.

  3. Ron Oertel

    This does, however, remind me of the incident that Tia described on here some time ago, in which she was the sole person on a panel (dominated by females) who advocated for a male candidate for a physician position (whom she felt was better-qualified) than other female candidates.

    (Something to that effect, at least.)

    In any case, I respected the position that Tia took, as described.

  4. Keith Olsen

    I’m curious as to what process took place in deciding to paint 2nd Street with Black Lives Matter.

    Was it brought up at any council meetings and vetted as the Ghandi statue was?

    Was their public input and discussion?

  5. Alan Miller

    I’m curious as to what process took place in deciding to paint 2nd Street with Black Lives Matter.  Was it brought up at any council meetings and vetted as the Ghandi statue was?  Was their public input and discussion?

    KO, of course not, because BLM is a ‘perfect’ statement and a ‘perfect’ movement, with ‘perfect’ goals, open to no criticism or nuance . . .

    . . . just like Ghandi is a ‘perfect’ and uncontroversial symbol of nonviolence.

    1. Keith Olsen

      I thought maybe I missed it Alan, a council meeting where this was discussed.

      I would think the whole town would want to be involved deciding if they wanted this “art” painted down one of its main arteries.

      1. Alan Miller

        Any council-member who dared suggest that were a ‘choice’ in the current climate would be pummeled by the virtue-all online mob until run out of office.

      2. Alan Miller

        KO, don’t know if you saw this, but in my town of origin, Palo White-O, there is a national movement by police organizations to have a ‘BLM’ mural removed from the street in front of city hall.  The mural apparently contains the likeness of person who is a virtuous figure to some, and also murdered a cop.  The artist says they will not remove just the one image, and the City Council last I heard was not going to remove the mural.  Thankfully not a controversial matter — kinda like how abortion isn’t a controversial matter.

        National police organization objects to painting of cop-killer on Black Lives Matter mural
        https://padailypost.com/2020/07/12/national-police-organization-objects-to-painting-of-cop-killer-on-black-lives-matter-mural/

          1. David Greenwald

            That actually suggests you didn’t know who she was – it means you had to look her up.

  6. Ron Glick

    “I’m curious as to what process took place in deciding to paint 2nd Street with Black Lives Matter.”

    An interesting question. I’d be interested to know the answer.

    1. Bill Marshall

      So would I… Second Street is public R/W… seems some sort of permission was needed… if not, anyone could paint anything on any street…

        1. Keith Olsen

          So who ultimately has the power to give the okay if the council isn’t involved?

          And what if they decided to paint “art” on a street that was found to be offensive to many city residents?  Say something like “Life Starts at Conception”?

          1. David Greenwald

            From a legal standpoint they would not be equivalents. MAGA is a campaign slogan. What they did in NY was do a blue lives matter mural which was a tribute to fallen cops.

  7. David Greenwald

    The Phoenix Coalition asked me to add this: “DPC, in expressing our belief that the commitment to diversity when choosing from an equally qualified pool, neglected to note that Bob Poppenga was the lone dissenting vote. We thank him for this thoughtful decision. It is voices like his that bring systemic change.”

    1. Bill Marshall

      Poppenga also was the main voice towards not an appointment, but an election… Fernandes was not… see the May meeting… Fernandes really needs to ‘own’ the appointment decision… and the appointee…

      David… do you know what district the appointee lives in?

      1. David Greenwald

        I don’t know what district the appointee lives in – for those who are just joining that conversation, the seat will remain at large until 2022

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for