FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 9th, 2020
CONTACT: Heather Masterton, Chief Strategic Engagement Officer, YWCA Glendale E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org CELL: 585-687-8319; www.ywcagp.org
(Glendale, CA) On Tuesday, September 15th, the Glendale City Council will have the opportunity to make history by adopting a formal resolution to recognize the City’s history as a former “sundown town,” acknowledging and apologizing for the century long exclusionary practices that prohibited African Americans from residing and prospering in the City of Glendale. Historical documents, public accounts and newspaper articles, collected by city staff in the report accompanying the proposed resolution, demonstrate that Glendale was a sundown town for a majority of the 20th century, in which Black workers were asked to leave the City by sundown or face violence by police or community members, were excluded from residing or purchasing property in Glendale through discriminatory language in property deeds and covenants, and were made to feel unsafe due to the presence of the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party who maintained active chapters and headquarters in Glendale.
During this historic moment where calls for racial justice are driving transformative social and policy change, former sundown towns across the country are reckoning with their history and seeking pathways to right the wrongs of the past. Sundown town resolutions offer a way forward in outlining three key steps to advancing change: acknowledgement of the City’s intentional, systemic and culturally enshrined racist practices designed to exclude and harm; making public an apology for the injustices of the past; and atoning for the past by committing to concrete actions to repair and remedy those injustices. Glendale is now presented with the opportunity to pass this historic resolution.
“The first step towards making Glendale a truly inclusive community is recognizing and making amends for the past and present actions that have made it such a difficult place for Black people to live and work. We at Black in Glendale are heartened that the city has accepted the challenge and wants to do the hard work of being a model for change and inclusion for other former sundown towns. We urge the City Council to honor the contributions of the diverse community coalition and city staff that crafted this resolution with its passing and implore you to follow this action with meaningful policies and programs that improve Black representation in Glendale on all fronts,” Tanita Harris-Ligons, Founder, Black in Glendale.
We cannot chart a pathway toward an anti-racist Glendale without first reckoning with the injustices of the past. It is the remnants of those injustices that continue to negatively impact the experiences of Black, Indigenous and People of Color, today. The City of Glendale has the opportunity to turn the page on this chapter and demonstrate what is possible when a community is invested in doing the hard work of addressing racism. I urge the City Council to step into their power as change makers and to stand on the right side of history by passing this resolution, Tara Peterson, CEO, YWCA Glendale.
About the Coalition for An Anti-Racist Glendale
In June 2020, YWCA Glendale, Black in Glendale and a group of committed community members, parents, educators, and faith leaders formed the Coalition for an Anti-Racist Glendale to lead the community forward following the murder of George Floyd and to lay the groundwork for systemic change to address racial inequities in Glendale. The Coalition is committed to creating a more just and equitable Glendale by 2027 by advancing systemic change in five key areas: housing, employment, education, justice and health. It determined that the first step in this work would be the presentation of a Sundown Town Resolution to acknowledge, apologize and atone for the City’s history of racist and exclusionary practices.
More on Black in Glendale (BIG)
BIG’s mission is to promote awareness and respect for Black culture through events that honor the heritage, creativity and contributions of Black people and build community among Glendale neighbors and friends. Together, they provide a sense of community for people who live, work and play in Glendale. The decision to use the term Black, as an inclusive diaspora term, for all people of African descent, whether born on the continent of Africa, Caribbean, Europe, the Pacific Islands or the United States. Their events, programs and activities also extend themselves to family members of BIG members who are other. Husbands, wives, parents, grandparents, etc. who are not considered Black are welcome at all BIG events.
More on YWCA Glendale
For nearly 95 years, the YWCA Glendale has been at the forefront of developing programs and solutions to address the most critical issues of our time: voting rights, civil rights, violence against women and children, and affordable housing. Its comprehensive programming includes: domestic violence emergency shelter and supportive services (case management, legal advocacy, and therapy); violence prevention education for students and our community; and workshops, events and summer camps to inspire and empower girls.