Speaker: “Racialized violence and its varying dynamics in those that have been rendered different stem from the same source of white supremacy.”

Alex Olvera from the La Raza Pre-Law Student Association

Community Gathers in Recognition of Victims of Police Violence

By David M. Greenwald

Davis, CA – Passionate speeches by Mayor Gloria Partida and Davis Community Church Associate Pastor Eunbee Ham, in an event organized by the La Raza Pre-Law Student Association, highlighted a week that saw a measure of justice for George Floyd, but also the disturbing police involved shootings of several other high profile incidents across the country.

The event drew a sizable crowd, notably filled predominantly with younger students who brazened the cool windy conditions in remembrance of Adam Toledo, Daunte Wright, Aisha Mireles, and other victims of police shootings.

Alex Olvera, one of the organizers at the event from La Raza, called for a five minute moment of silence saying, “I’m mad, I am sad, I’m sick of every day learning how poorly this country treats people of color in America.”

Mayor Gloria Partida said, “I’m here with you to bear witness.  When we come out to these events – we’re here because we are bearing witness.  That is a very important part of bringing change into systems.”

Mayor Gloria Partida

“You think about what a witness does. They take note,” she said.  “They bring accountability and accountability is something that we’re looking for right now.”

She talked about the importance of being here at these events for the people unable to make it for a variety of reasons.

“I also think about the people who were actual witnesses to the death of George Floyd,” Mayor Partida continued.  “Four of them were children.  One of them was nine years old.  And those people stood there and bravely witnessed that scene that they’re going to carry with them for the rest of their life.  Rather than just have it be a trauma in their life – they changed a huge portion of our policing system by being brave enough to pull out their phones even though they were frightened.”

In their testimony, they explained that they were afraid.

“They continued to stand there and be witnesses,” she said.

Stealing the show however, was Pastor Eunbee Ham.  New to the community, having come here eleven months ago in May, she said, “We come together to hold the weight of rage, grief and trauma that we feel every time another precious black life is cut short through police brutality.”

She said, “Our gathering tonight refuses to normalize this recurring massacre of Black and Brown lives.  We refuse to stay silent about the continual lynching of our Black and Brown siblings.”

She explained that she is an Asian, woman pastor “representing a predominantly white, affluent, Christian institution that is learning how to dismantle white supremacy within our own organization.”

She continued, “I stand before you racialized as Asian in this country, in the framework of white supremacy.”  She said her role as an Asian woman “is to stay invisible, silent and compliant.  White supremacy wants me to keep my head down and be grateful for the crumbs under the table and normalize the killing of my Black and brown siblings.”

Associate Pastor Eunbee Ham from Davis Community Church

The Pastor lamented, “White supremacy offers an honorary white status with the illusion that I won’t get killed while running, I won’t get killed while sleeping, driving, hanging an air freshener, or buying a snack.”

But she said, “The irony is that Asians are still being killed and victimized.  I refuse to live into that lie.”

She said that what Blacks experience as anti-Black racism and white supremacy “is not the same as what AAPI people experience as anti-Asian racism and xenophobia.”  The specifics of how it manifests in their lives varies, “We must remember that they come from the same source of white supremacy.”

She told the story of entering the country in the immigration line at the airport with her sister.  At the time, she said, she was barely 20 years old.

“After waiting over an hour in a long degrading sweaty line designated for ‘aliens’, I breathed a sigh of relief  as I passed through the immigration kiosk.”

As she was waiting for her sister, the immigration officer ordered her to move along.

“I told my sister, I’ll be waiting for you at the end,” she said.  “This one sentence was so threatening to that immigration officer that he called the police to escort me out of there.  I still remember the humiliation, the anger … as that situation escalated instantly.”

“Even now after almost 20 years, my body remembers that incident like a myriad of long, acupuncture needles that were inserted and forgotten in my body,” she said.  “Once in a while I feel them in there.”

Ham said, “I’m sharing this story to demonstrate how racialized violence and its varying dynamics in those that have been rendered different stem from the same source of white supremacy.”

She said, “In my situation I was placed at the mercy of someone who unilaterally determined they already knew me and my intentions without hearing a single word.  This happened when I spoke English fluently – what would have happened if I didn’t speak English.”

She continued, “The officer escalated that situation very quickly for no reason and this was all legal.  He had the force of law behind him to refuse to listen to the needs of the people who he’s paid to protect and serve.”

“It becomes very clear who he is paid to protect and serve.”

Later she related the reaction of a Black friend to the George Floyd situation, “Even though the whole world watched a police officer put a knee on George Floyd’s neck for nine and a half minutes, medical professionals and pathologists are willing to tell incredible lies – and they will be believed because the color of their skin.”

“We are willing to go to great lengths to lie to ourselves to maintain a knee on a black person’s neck,” she said her friend told her.  “When he heard the verdict of Derek Chauvin he spent two hours crying, he couldn’t even articulate what it was.  They certainly weren’t tears of joy but he found a little space to breathe.  To live.  The idea that the justice system could find it in their hearts to see a crime against my crime as a crime.  To see through the lies of pathologists.  To see at least in this instance that a clear wrong was done.”

Morgan Poindexter read a poem written by A.T. McWilliams, a poet from Brooklyn, NY.

He wrote, “Adam Toledo was a child, a child who was afraid to die … a child who heard an officer yell stop show me your hands … a child who listened … a child who was shot anyhow … but what if Adam wasn’t just a child …  what if he was the officer’s child?”

Morgan Poindexter as she read the poem from A.T. McWilliams

Dillan Horton, chair of the Police Accountability Commission, talked in a local context how we go forward from here.  He spoke, of “a system that was never really built to work.  We have a system of modern day policing in the United States … that is built based, structured, around racist principles.”

He said, “It’s organized at a priority level of protecting property over protecting the lives of people.  It is built on racist and classist principles.”  He noted that, “the precursors to modern policing are really troubling … slave patrols.”

He talked about a viral video of a police incident that occurred up the road on I-80 near Vacaville.

He described a young man, around the age of 15, autistic, who interacted with Vacaville police officers, with the incident ending with the young man being thrown to the ground, punched repeatedly in the face.

“What was Vacaville’s police department’s response when confronted with this subject?” he asked.  “The response was, we heard that there was a violent incident and that’s how we respond.”

He noted, “this young man was autistic, but white.  You don’t have to be Black for the inadequacies of this system to impact your public safety.”

Dillan Horton

Horton also discussed the police involved shooting in late 2019 in north Davis.  The individuals at a home needed mental health crisis support.

“There were dozens of 911 calls to this home,” he said.  “These people – not for lack of trying – are not equipped to handle these situations.”

“After dozens and dozens of these calls on a late night  …  this individual who needed help and didn’t get it, took his mother’s life.  When police showed up at the scene, they took his life,” he continued and then asked, “Tell me how public safety imperatives were addressed in that incident?”

Horton says, “It boggles the mind that we would keep that system so demonstrated to be inadequate rather than go ahead with reform, equity and public safety for all.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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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  1. Ron Oertel

    She continued, “I stand before you racialized as Asian in this country, in the framework of white supremacy.”

    According to a black SF school board member, Asians benefit from white supremacy.  I suspect that she is not the only one who thinks that. One only has to look at the percentage of Asians at the city’s top public high school (or at UCD, for that matter) to understand what this type of claim is based upon.

    The arguments start collapsing under their own bloated weight, pretty quickly. Only the most radical push this agenda.

    1. Ron Glick

      Your reflexive, reactionary , and superficial response to the complex and heartfelt articulations of Pastor Ham, where, if you employed even the slightest inference, she addresses your stereotyping, are saddening to read.

      1. Ron Oertel

        What the hell are you talking about?

        I said nothing about the pastor, who (herself) represents a “predominantly white, affluent, Christian institution . . .”

  2. Chris Griffith

    Humanity is inherently tribal and wouldn’t you know it the media has done an expert job weaponizing their control over narratives to make it seem as if asians, blacks and latinos and everybody else you can think of are being singled out for extermination. Thank you Mr greenwald.


      1. Ron Glick

        Its a dangerous moment when Alan Miller and I agree. Usually between two Jews you would expect three arguments.

        Rhetoric is important and a rhetoric that fails to recognize individual differences and demonizes an entire race can alienate some of your allies.

        Just a few years ago I was struck by the continuous turn out by Jews and those of Japanese heritage at rallies in opposition of Trump’s separation and detention policies. It seemed that both demographics recognized, because of the historical treatment of their ancestors during WWII, the direction Trump’s policies were heading. We were natural allies brought together by circumstances.

        I would encourage  activists to be careful with their rhetoric so as to not turn off those that agree with them on the issues.

        1. Alan Miller

          Its a dangerous moment when Alan Miller and I agree.

          Dangerous to whom?  😉

          I would encourage  activists to be careful with their rhetoric so as to not turn off those that agree with them on the issues.

          Clearly I agree.  If only this were local – the problem is this is national if not international and the rhetoric is widespread and ingrained.   We’re just a couple of Jews hollering in the wilderness.


    1. Alan Miller

      asians, blacks and latinos and everybody else you can think of are being singled out for extermination.

      You forgot Jews.  I seem to remember Jews being singled out for extermination around eight decades ago . . . what was that called?  Started with an “H” I believe  (‘singled’ out – along with gays, Poles, whomever the Germans hated . . . )

      Years ago, when the term “White Supremacists” had a very specific meaning, white supremacy groups hated Jews as much as they hated black people.  Seemed we were all in this together back then.

      I hear the stories of people like Ham above, and my heart is filled with empathy, as it long has with stories of the oppression of so many.  And then the narrative goes to ” . . . because of white supremacy“.  That shuts my brain off.  I realize it’s the modern lexicon for something broader, but it so cheapens the term.  And it doesn’t help explain, it’s more used like a sledgehammer, like ‘here’s my story of oppression, I ask you for your understanding, and by the way BAM BAM over the head!  f¨ck you white people!  BAM BAM smash your white skulls!’  Pardon the graphic, but that’s how it comes across.  I’m not talking about this one speech, I’m talking about the rhetoric of the modern movement.  No one asked anyone to ‘declare themselves’ anything in the 60’s, now it’s you are an anti-racist, or you’re not one of us (therefore, a racist).  That’s cult talk.

      I don’t know if division is the goal, but division is what this is accomplishing.  I was going to some of these events in solidarity early on and may again, but the rhetoric has changed.  It’s oppressed vs.  less-oppressed by category, grievance and ranking – all vs. ‘privileged’ white supermacists.  Can’t it be us vs. the knuckleheads?  And yes, DG, racists are knuckleheads.

      1. David Greenwald

        Alan – I appreciate your thoughtful comment here. One thing I would suggest is that white supremacy is not an indictment of individual whites but rather the overall system of oppression. I probably prefer the term systemic racism but it is accurate to say that the system was founded on the notion of white supremacy and has been hardwired in from the start.

        I am sad that my video of the Pastor was cut in half because she was so eloquent and passionate in explaining how this system impacts Asians even successful Asians in our society. Hopefully some of that came through in my account.

      2. Bill Marshall

        Good points, Alan, offer more in those lines…

        The US has finally accused the Ottoman Empire of causing a “mini-holocaust” of Armenians, during WWI, fully 30+ years before the ‘Reich’ did the “big H”… similar tactics… forced marches, forced work, starvation, and flat-out executions… same sort of evil ‘knuckle-heads’…

        Some refer to the famous quote, “if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem!”  [Generally attributed to Eldridge Cleaver… see also Eldridge Cleaver – Wikipedia for you young enough not to remember the context, and the murder of a Marin County judge, and others, which Cleaver was NOT a part of, but the perpetrators had strong affiliations to the Black Panther movement…]

        Meanwhile going back to the early ’60’s, many whites, including my parents, abhorred what was happening to Blacks (then called ‘Negroes’) and taught their children, mainly by example, to treat people by behaviors only… so when I first was schooled where I was around a lot of Black and Asian kids (and yes Alan, also many Jewish ones… first serious crush I had was a girl who invited her friends to the house one evening… both parents had “those tattoos”), didn’t think twice… if they were reasonably friendly (not antagonistic) and fellow students, that’s how I viewed them… not by ‘color of skin’, but by ‘character’ (seem to recall someone seeing that as a goal)…

        Spouse was raised the same way… only natural that we did so with our kids… yet, many call us default ‘racists’ because we are “white”… or have inherent/unconscious biases… by “profiling” us…

        Guess our parents and the rest of us were thinking “Think globally, act locally (or personally)” long before that became a ‘mantra’… guess that didn’t count, as we are “white-privileged”…

        Alan nailed it:

        I don’t know if division is the goal, but division is what this is accomplishing…, but the rhetoric has changed.  It’s oppressed vs. less-oppressed by category, grievance and ranking – all vs. ‘privileged’ white supermacists.  Can’t it be us vs. the knuckleheads?  And yes, DG, racists are knuckleheads. (or, I’d add, WORSE) [Emphasis mine]

        And if not ‘dividing’, certainly “tuning out”

    1. Ron Oertel

      If you’re going to put forth a warning like that (apparently, in anticipation of something “disrespectful”), perhaps you should explain which prior comments you have found to be “disrespectful”.

      Otherwise, your warning will not be understood.

      And more importantly – perhaps reflects your own bias (and lack of respect for comments that you personally disagree with).

    2. Chris Griffith

      Mr moderator 🤗

      Could you please give us an example of how one can discuss this in a very sociable way considering the tone of the actual article?


  3. Keith Olsen

    In regards to Ma’Khia Bryant, should the officer have let her stab with a knife and possibly kill the other young person of color that the officer was protecting?  If the cop had allowed that to happen would the race activists then be saying that the officer didn’t care about the young POC that’s why he let her get stabbed?  There’s no doing the right thing when everything is the wrong thing.

    1. Ron Oertel

      I would imagine that at some point, someone is going to claim that police officers are victims of white supremacy.

      Along with white supremacists, themselves.

      In the immortal words of Curly Howard, “I’m a victim of coicumstance.”

      It’s easy, when you can blame a “system”.

    2. Bill Marshall

      Even more interesting… looking at the video, there was a guy who viciously kicked the fallen ‘first victim’… no story-line, no charges… not a cop… looked like ‘assault’ to me…

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