Letter: Yolo County Is for Everybody

Elected officials, educational and community organization leaders as well as more than 400 Yolo County residents have signed a letter rejecting “the politics of division and hate.”

Yolo County Is for Everyone

Over the past several months, extremists have repeatedly attacked some of Yolo County’s valued public institutions—including our library, our annual Pride celebration, and our schools.

They have protested against expressions of LGBTQ pride, such as rainbow flags in classrooms, rainbow crosswalks on our streets, and LGBTQ-themed books in our libraries. They have objected to scientifically based curricula about gender and sexuality in our schools. They have publicly posted photos and the physical locations of teachers, students, librarians, and advocates on social media platforms, placing them at risk from an angry network of anti-LGBTQ extremists. They have spread prejudiced disinformation about the LGBTQ community to arouse outrage. They have deliberately courted attention from extremist media and, in the wake of this publicity, our library and schools have received multiple bomb threats, each accompanied by vicious anti-LGBTQ language. They claim to want to protect children, but instead, our children have been put in danger.

Our county is not alone. Libraries and schools across the nation have been similarly threatened, both for being LGBTQ-positive and also for promoting racial diversity and equality. Our experience in Yolo County is just one piece of a nationwide campaign to sow division, disrupt communities, and undermine the principle that public institutions must be open, inclusive, and safe for all of us—regardless of our differences.

With the collective voice of all who are signing this letter, we declare that they will not succeed. We reject the politics of division and hate. We do not simply accept the diversity of our county, our state, and our nation—we embrace it. Our community is stronger when our unique differences come together.

We believe that a spectrum of experiences and a free exchange of ideas are hallmarks of our democracy. We know that truth has the power to keep us free, and that lies carry a danger to inflame bitterness and hate. We reject tactics of fear and intimidation because they rupture the social contract. We assert that everyone has the right to go to school, visit a library, go to work, and live without fear of attack just for being who they are. We affirm that no amount of toxic politics will sever our commitments to each other. We insist on respect, inclusion, and safety for every child and teacher in our schools, every reader in our libraries, and every resident in our towns.

So today we declare that we will not allow division to poison our community. In Yolo County, our values include equality, dignity, and respect for everyone, without exception. We stand firm, and we stand together.

Note, the letter has been signed by 40 elected officials including: Supervisors Lucas Frerichs and Jim Provenza; Mayor Will Arnold; Vice Mayor Josh Chapman; Councilmembers Bapu Vaitla, Donna Neville and Gloria Partida;  School Board members: Hiram Jackson, Elizabeth Moon, Joe DiNunzio, and Lea Darrah, as well as School Board Member-Elect Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald; Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry; and Congressman Mike Thompson.

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.

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19 Comments

    1. David Greenwald

      “Elected officials, educational and community organization leaders as well as more than 400 Yolo County residents have signed a letter rejecting “the politics of division and hate.””

  1. Keith Olsen

    We believe that a spectrum of experiences and a free exchange of ideas are hallmarks of our democracy. 

    So does the “we” here agree that the Moms for Liberty have to right to speak with a free exchange of their ideas because it’s a hallmark of our democracy?

        1. Kendra Smith

          They also have the right to be laughed at, rhetorically trounced, and socially ostracized for their vile and right wing extremist views.

          Freedom of speech doesn’t protect you from the consequences of that speech.

          I hope right wing extremists remember that.

        2. Kendra Smith

          “Kendra, did you not read this part of the letter.

          In Yolo County, our values include equality, dignity, and respect for everyone, without exception.”

          To that, I say look up The Paradox of Tolerance.

          It’s a thing.

          1. David Greenwald

            “The paradox of tolerance states that if a society is tolerant without limit, its ability to be tolerant is eventually ceased or destroyed by the intolerant.”

            It’s an interesting point.

            I’d also point people to Karl Popper, Open Society and Its Enemies. (One of my favorite books).

            “unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance… We must therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate intolerance”.

        3. Keith Olsen

          Ahhh, but we come back to who determines what’s tolerant and what isn’t?

          Is a group having an event at a public library where they’re discussing trans women competing in women’s sports considered intolerance?

          Or parents wanting the right to know how there child has changed their identity in school intolerance?

          This is all open for discussion, without exception.

          1. David Greenwald

            I lost in this is that we are not talking about government action, no one is talking about advocating for the government to suppress free speech. So then you get into the realm of – you are free to speech and I am free to criticize you for what you say.

    1. Walter Shwe

      They also have the right to be laughed at, rhetorically trounced, and socially ostracized for their vile and right wing extremist views.

      Freedom of speech doesn’t protect you from the consequences of that speech.

      I hope right wing extremists remember that.

       

      You took the words right out of my mouth Kendra. I applaud your continuing efforts against this right wing hate.

  2. Keith Olsen

     In Yolo County, our values include equality, dignity, and respect for everyone, without exception.

    Everyone?  Even people who might have different views that you don’t agree with?  Like Moms for Liberty, without exception?

  3. Todd Edelman

    I believe that I am 100% of LGBTIQ people and perspectives which I understand as the main focus on this new flag of sorts. While it’s clear that this Everyone-ism is a goal on a long path, the chronic institutional hypocrisy of the City and County on things like climate change and democratic process (e.g. how Staff handles many issues) and the chronic inability to mention Landlord-ism by the most supposedly progressive elected and want-to-be-elected, um, neighbors gives me a big sad pause when I see this: In the Castro District of San Francisco there’s been a huge rainbow flag for many years, and my understanding is that a more updated pride flag – using the familiar non-text part of the new lawn sign etc in Davis – may soon accompany it.

    The Yolo Everyone sign graphic is based on the Intersex-Inclusive Progress Pride Flag (which) adds the intersex community to the Progress Pride Flag. With this update coming in 2021, this serves as the most up-to-date LGBTQ+ flag. The flag was created by Valentino Vecchietti of Intersex Equality Rights UK.

    Yes, it’s not really about “Everyone”. I am obviously not going to protest individual sign placements, and I don’t fault the creator and sponsor – Davis Phoenix Coalition – except perhaps for not doing enough outreach. It will certainly be useful in encouraging some people to at least be a little more tolerant of the issues targeted by the IIPPF.

    So then… what about a truly “Everyone” flag? Consider the huge 20ft x 30ft flag in the Castro and contrast that with our annual rainbow crosswalk painting. The former is permanent and improving, high above the SF District’s transportation hub and most busy area; the latter fades and is soiled within days, and crosswalks are actually a remnant of a part of the Commons that’s now mostly motor vehicle dominated, and one can only use them when vehicles don’t need to.

    How ’bout we consider this truly Everyone flag, and have them fly in important locations in our cities and the county? Include symbols, colors etc to make clear the full economic and social issues necessary under a truly honest “Everyone”! But don’t add some color or symbol to connote “hypocrisy” – perhaps something signifying humility under Capitalism? OK, I digress, sort of.

     

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