Los Angeles City Councilmembers unanimously voted to adopt an antiracist framework in the City of Los Angeles, calling the motion a long overdue response to generational inequities that perpetuate racial disparities across City services and the region at-large.
“As leaders of a city as diverse as Los Angeles, it is our responsibility to ensure the equitable distribution of city services and resources. But in order to do that, we must have the tools in place to effectively examine the ways in which we have unwittingly fallen short. Only when we are clear on our flaws, can we course-correct,” said Councilmember Ridley-Thomas.
Introduced by Councilmembers Mark Ridley-Thomas, Curren Price and Marqueece Harris-Dawson, the “Antiracism motion” calls upon the Civil and Human Rights + Equity Department to produce a Racial Equity Audit of City programs, policies and practices; and to develop a plan that addresses barriers to economic stability, specifically among African Americans.
“For generations, the saying, ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ has been used as a wholly inadequate instruction. Local institutions and businesses hindered and denied African Americans and others participation in employment, housing, and opportunity in everyday life through legislation and policy. The strategic deployment of racism through acts and mandates is the most significant loss of social capital and innovation across sectors that Americans have ever known, and still need to remedy. Today in Los Angeles, this motion is foundational and ignites the way for change,” said Councilmember Harris-Dawson.
“We have reached a critical turning point and if we are ever to reconcile with the past wrongdoings done to the Black community and tackle race relations, it is our duty to push for measures that ensure there is a more equitable and fair distribution of services that addresses systemic inequities to erase color-lines,” said Councilman Curren Price. “We cannot sit back and watch history continue to repeat itself. We want to put an end to the cycle here and now.”
“I want to thank Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas and the co-authors of this motion for taking bold action on racial equity. LA Civil Rights is grateful for the opportunity to support this important work,” said Capri Maddox, Executive Director of the city’s Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department, also known as LA Civil Rights. “Systemic racism didn’t come out of thin air – it came from centuries of policies that separated Black communities from their wealth, their health and their freedom. But just as our country designed a system of inequality, we can also build a future of inclusion and justice – and Los Angeles is showing the way.”
Earlier this summer, Mayor Garcetti signed Executive Directive 27 to establish a Racial Equity Task Force within the Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department, and pushed forth the formation of the Mayors Organized for Reparations and Equity (MORE) coalition which aims to support federal reparations legislation, establish advisory commissions in their respective cities, and work toward developing and implementing reparations demonstration programs targeted to a pilot group of Black Americans in their communities. The motion builds on this work by codifying Executive Directive 27 into law in the City of Los Angeles.
“There is no question that work remains to close the racial gaps that exist in our country when it comes to wealth, health, and education,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “The motion builds on the equity work we’re doing in Los Angeles, and I’m proud to work alongside Councilmembers who are committed to confronting structural racism and fulfilling America’s promise to all its people.”
The motion attracted an outpouring of support from the community and local leaders including:
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President, April Verrett.
“We can no longer just talk about equity, we must practice equity. More than ever we need policies that address the systemic and structural barriers that keep people of color from thriving. This motion to Establish an Antiracist Los Angeles is a critical step forward in the journey to ensure our city is a place where all of us have the opportunity to flourish.”
“A Racial Equity audit of the city’s government and structures is needed now more than ever as we move as a city and a people from moral imagination to action. Now is the time to not only confess our sin of racism as a city, as so many did during the pandemic, but to grapple with the hard truth that the path to justice runs through equity for Black communities and communities of color across this city who have been perpetually and systematically left out of resources and advancement, this motion moves us one step closer to a more just and equitable Los Angeles and builds upon the hard work and reports of community,” said McCarty Memorial Christian Church Senior Pastor, Edward Anderson.
“One human’s despair is all humans’ despair – one human’s joy is all humans’ joy – one human’s accomplishments are all humans’ accomplishments. Such should be the genuine thinking of a civilized and conscientious human, if there is to be peace and harmony in the world. Human progress isn’t measured by industry, it’s measured by the value you put on a life, said Brotherhood Crusade President and CEO, Charisse Bredmond Weaver. “The Establishing an Antiracist Los Angeles motion introduced by Councilmembers Ridley-Thomas, Price and Harris-Dawson fully embodies this Abhijit Naskar quote and, more importantly, moves the City ever so much closer to a just, productive, inclusive and harmonious society. I commend the Councilmembers for their work and strongly encourage the City Council to not only adopt the motion but to also integrate its spirit and tenets throughout the City’s infrastructure.”