Community Rebuilds Solidarity Space as Council Condemns the Removal of Community Art

By David M. Greenwald

Davis, CA – Around 3 pm on Tuesday activists in Davis noticed that the art display at Central Park known as the Solidarity Space had been removed.

A week ago in a vigil commemorating the death of Daunte Wright, the space was adorned with signs and flowers.  By Tuesday afternoon it was stripped bare.

But, as the evening approached, community members stepped forward to create new artwork and the space thrived even as a surprise rain briefly hit the area.

During the council meeting on Tuesday, the council issued a statement acknowledging the historic verdict in the George Floyd case: “Today, the nation took an historic step toward justice with the guilty verdict in the murder of George Floyd—a step that is so crucial to the healing of our nation and our own community. However, there is still so much to do.”

They said: “We are saddened to learn that, on this very day of this historic verdict, the artwork in the Solidarity Space at Central Park has been removed. This was not an action of the City. We will strive to learn more about this incident in the coming days. While this act is most troubling, it will not weaken our community resolve in our pursuit of equity, inclusion and justice.”

The council added, “Last year, the City Council approved funding for a collaboration between the City and International House to support and uplift BIPOC artists, organizations and initiatives.

“Part of the program will be the creation of permanent public art honoring and celebrating Black lives and beyond. Just as important is the creation of the Racial Equity Learning Lab Series led by professional facilitators and experts on the topic of racial justice. 

“The goal of this series of workshops is to harness our collective power to foster systemic change to create a better and more equitable future for our community. More information about this program will be available soon.”

Drawing by Jasmine Escamilla-Greenwald, age 11

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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34 Comments

  1. Sharla Cheney

    Is this supposed to be a permanent installation in the park?    Is this space permanently reserved for this purpose, even when events are not happening?  It looks like the screen is being permanently damaged.  Is someone in charge of caring for the installation?

    1. Keith Olsen

      I have to wonder, is the community art area open to anyone who wants to display their art on any topic they might feel inspired by?  After all this is public space.  Or is it like the chalk paint on the downtown streets where when others wanted to also display their message it was all shut down?

      1. Richard_McCann

        The community can decide what art that it wants to display. In this case, the community agreed without noted objections to continuing the display of this art. And objections need to be legitimate concerns. Art that promotes hate or continued oppression is not acceptable within this community and thus has legitimate objections that prevents it from being displayed. Freedom of speech is not completely unfettered (just as the right to bear arms is not completely unfettered.) When speech is intended to incite fear in an individual or group of people, then it should be restricted.

        1. Keith Olsen

          There are many forms of speech that aren’t hate related that may not conform to Progressive agendas.  But shouldn’t that speech also have access to community art display areas on public land?

          The community can decide what art that it wants to display.

          And if what you say is correct here then why did the city power clean the BLM chalk paint off of the downtown streets when others asked to also display their message?

          1. David Greenwald

            I think you need to think about it this way: it’s a public display area but it is curated and run by an organization. So just as a museum is not a free for all for public displays or an art exhibit isn’t a free for all, neither is this.

  2. Edgar Wai

    The council was apparently using Hanlon’s Razor.

    “We are saddened to learn that, on this very day of this historic verdict, the artwork in the Solidarity Space at Central Park has been removed. This was not an action of the City. We will strive to learn more about this incident in the coming days. While this act is most troubling, it will not weaken our community resolve in our pursuit of equity, inclusion and justice.”

    Without Hanlon’s Razor: “I feel targetted therefore it must be a hate crime.”

    With Hanlon’s Razor : “I feel that I was targetted, but logically I don’t know the truth. Therefore I will act based on what I know and try to know more.”

    1. Richard_McCann

      At this point given the time and publicity since the incident, anyone who had an innocent intent has had sufficient notice to step forward and provide an explanation. That hasn’t happened which clearly shows the intent was malevolent. We can interpret that as a racist motive.

      1. Edgar Wai

        This still violates Hanlon’s Razor.

        If someone did so without malice, they could still be

        a) unaware that there is an issue. (Ignorance instead of malice)

        b)  unwilling to confess (a person who erred without malice could still hide their wrong doing. This is cowardice instead of malice.)

      2. Bill Marshall

        We can interpret that as a racist motive.

        Yes “we can”… and absent the foolish belief that someone who ‘did a stupid’ and does not want to come forward, means it was racist, can interpret it ‘differently’… But it is clear you have chosen how to believe… I have not chosen… so guess, in your eyes, I’m, a privileged older white racist… feel free to believe that… many people have mistaken/wrong beliefs… but they are entitled to them… but not evidence or proof, tho’…

        Given the other thread, and a common name, can’t be sure whether you have an inherent bias or not… and, it doesn’t matter to me… have a great day…

  3. Bill Marshall

    Fascinating…

    Discover that former ‘art exhibit’ was removed @ around 3 PM Tues (time of discovery, not necessarily removal)… materials, kids, mobilized, and new ‘art exhibit’ up and running in the remaining daylight hours…  same day…

    No clue by who/how previous exhibit was removed, but appears to be clear it was not disposed of in nearby waste receptacles.

    Fascinating…

  4. David Greenwald

    Fox40 News Coverage: https://fox40.com/news/local-news/george-floyd-memorial-in-davis-removed-ahead-of-chauvin-verdict-artwork-quickly-replaced-wednesday/

    Kate made a good point about how thorough whoever it was went about taking pretty much everything.  Those who chalked this up as innocent, they literally took everything except for that piece on top which much have been fastened too tightly or something.  I don’t think you can write this off as anything other than attempt to eliminate the exhibit.

     

    1. Alan Miller

      Those who chalked this up as innocent, they literally took everything except for that piece on top which much have been fastened too tightly or something.

      I have chalked this up to:  I have no freaking idea.

      I don’t think you can write this off as anything other than attempt to eliminate the exhibit.

      I can think of several things one could write this off as.  One of them is an attempt to eliminate the exhibit.

      With all the businesses and houses around the park, no one saw anything, no security cameras captured anything?  That must have taken some time and been quite conspicuous – moving such large objects.

      And why does the incident keep being referred to by everyone involved as the high crime of removal, rather than theft, stealing or vandalism?

      1. Keith Olsen

        Exactly Alan, I don’t see anyone who has chalked this up as being innocent just yet.  I see those who have no idea and have suggested some possibilities, unlike those who immediately called it overt racism.

      2. Bill Marshall

        Fascinating…

        Fox 40 report is semi inconsistent with VG reporting… as to when the removal was observed… albeit the VG report included a big ‘window’ as to when, but inaccurate as to when ‘first discovered’…

    2. Edgar Wai

      <blockquote> how thorough</blockquote>

      As Alan said in the other thread, this factor suggests a non-malicious actor more than a malicious one. One would expect vandalism instead of disappearance. It takes less time to vandalize than to haul the objects.

      Were all the objects foldable? How many bags of things were removed?

      Was it something that one person with a car could complete in 30 minutes?

      Or would they not likely to need a car?

  5. Edgar Wai

    For the sake of social justice, the consequence of committing a hate crime should be eviction from the community (in additional to repaying any damage).

    For example, if a resident is found terrorizing their neighbors, a city should evict that resident. If they are a homeowner they might be given a time to sell their properties. A school going offender might also be expelled from the local school. Responding to hate crime with hate crime would cause both parties to be evicted. Businesses guilty of hate crime are also evicted too.

    Moral: You may be free to hate your neighbors elsewhere, but not here.

    To do this, the citizenry needs a good standard of judging/convicting someone of a hate crime. They need to apply Hanlon’s Razor so that it does not turn into a witch hunt.

    1. Don Shor

      And perhaps more importantly, what does this “myth” mean?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_minority

      Might it be similar to the views espoused by the SF school board member who stated that Asians use “white supremacist thinking” to “get ahead”?

      You’ve mentioned this incident at least six times now. Perhaps you should submit an essay explaining why it resonates so much with you.

      1. Ron Oertel

        You’ve mentioned this incident at least six times now.

        You’re counting?  Cool.  And yet, I have received no responses that I recall (from anyone) other than yours.  And, you haven’t actually shared your thoughts regarding what the school board member posted, or the related lawsuit.

        Do you think it’s relevant, in regard to the “model minority” sign photographed for this article?

        Perhaps you should submit an essay explaining why it resonates so much with you.

        That’s a good question.  I think it’s because of the “skin colors” of the two parties involved, along with the overall political views (e.g., presumably on the “same side”).  Which doesn’t fit the agenda, of those who (normally) use the term “model minority” (in regard to conservatives, in particular).  Presumably, “white” conservatives.

        In any case, I’m curious as to your (or anyone’s) thoughts regarding the related lawsuit (against the district and the other school board members), the renaming of SF schools, and the elimination of merit-based enrollments at San Francisco’s top high school.  Some of this seems to be related (especially the elimination of merit-based enrollments, which supposedly “benefits” Asians, for the most part).

        Seems to me that Affirmative-action type efforts can no longer be framed as a “white” vs. “everyone else” confrontation, much to the chagrin of supporters of those efforts.

         

      2. Ron Oertel

        Seems to me that some commenters are adept at simple counting (as their “response”), but not so much when it comes to questions they might want to avoid.  🙂

        In any case, I’m also curious as to the definition of “white supremacist thinking”, especially when allegedly employed by those with other skin colors.

        An even more basic question: If “white supremacist thinking” can be used to “get ahead” by anyone (e.g., any skin color/race), why wouldn’t everyone want to use “white supremacist thinking”? 🙂

        Or, do you suppose this just all starts going down the path of a bunch of b.s., that no one wants to acknowledge?

        1. Ron Oertel

          Well, if that school board member also uses that definition, than what is she stating about Asians who use white supremacist thinking to get ahead?

          I’m not the one who made that claim.

          When used in this manner, I have no idea what it even means.  But, it seems to be related to the “model minority” allegation – which normally isn’t leveled directly against Asians (openly, at least). It is normally used when someone (outside) of that designation essentially asks, “why can’t you do it, as well”? (And, I’m not sure there’s any honest answers forthcoming, regarding that.)

          This all kind of reminds me of what occurred when Kamala Harris’ senate seat became vacant, as well. Fighting for a seat that was essentially designated as “non-white”, but not necessarily beyond that. Leading to a fight regarding the specific color of the presumed non-white designee.

           

    2. Bill Marshall

      Ron, given your cite:

      Did a school board member say, “tweet” ‘state ‘ “that Asians use “white supremacist thinking” to “get ahead”?,

      or,

      Did someone who stated/’tweeted’ “that”, later become a school board member?

      A significant distinction…

      Did an corrupt individual say/’tweet’ that Barack Obama was not a ‘citizen’, therefor not fit for office before or after, he (the Donald) was President?  Did he ever retract or back-pedal on that?  Show any remorse when he was factually wrong (way beyond ‘opinion’)?

      So, you are holding a SF school board member to a higher standard than the President of the United States?  Sure seems like you are, by your own cite… (repeated several times, as previously noted)

      Whatever…  am waiting for answers as you always expect… from others… not holding my breath, ‘tho… slim and none chances that you’ll justify/document your apparent hypocrisy…

      1. Ron Oertel

        I post links (such as the one in my initial comment) for a reason.  So that readers don’t have to take my word for what I post.

        Whatever…  am waiting for answer as you always expect… from others…

        No – I don’t “always” expect it, but I usually receive it – in the form of irrelevant comments or blog gamesmanship that some engage in, on here.

        The school board member’s comments are a missed opportunity to actually discuss racism – beyond categorizing others as “good” or “bad” in regard to comments and views.  I am also referring to the school board member, regarding that.  Are her views “bad”? Aren’t her views really an extension of the “white privilege” views espoused on here (and elsewhere, so often these days)? But in this case, more accurately described as “Asian privilege”? (No – you’ll never hear that term used.)

        Instead, we get the usual “head on a pike” effort.  Which is probably more muted in this case, due to the skin colors involved (nary a white person around, despite the alleged “white supremacist views”).

        Have to admit that I also find it amusing to discuss “white supremacy”, in this situation.  If I’m not mistaken, the Proud Boys also have some non-white members, for what that’s worth.

        I still don’t know what “white supremacist views” means (in regard to the school board member’s comments regarding Asians).  But, I think it would be worth exploring, for a blog that was interested in moving beyond “good” vs. “bad”.

        .

      1. Alan Miller

        I will add that what happened in Houston is disgusting.  I will condemn if persons are caught and had ill will in the Davis removal, though I will not make a conclusion if the items are simply ‘found’.  I much appreciate the police chief chalking up that spray painting to ‘some knucklehead’ instead of giving the perpetrator a platform and attention in the racism paradigm.

        1. David Greenwald

          “I much appreciate the police chief chalking up that spray painting to ‘some knucklehead’ instead of giving the perpetrator a platform and attention in the racism paradigm.”

          I have the opposite reaction.

        2. Keith Olsen

           I will condemn if persons are caught and had ill will in the Davis removal, though I will not make a conclusion if the items are simply ‘found’. 

          I feel the same Alan.  If the person(s) who took the Davis art are found and they removed it for nefarious reasons (racism) then I will also condemn the bad actors, but if the art is somehow found in a dumpster or on the side of the road it will take more than that to get me to jump onboard for obvious reasons.

        3. Keith Olsen

          I have spoken against racism and racists when it has been proven by the facts, but you don’t like it when I and others I don’t automatically jump on the bandwagon when there is no proof.

          That’s why this stuff festers. 

          I have a different opinion on why this stuff festers.  I believe it’s caused by automatically making everything about racism even when it doesn’t apply, where there is no proof.  Another example is the Ma’Khia Bryant protests taking place today.

          I now see that David removed his comment.

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