After a string of racial incidents in Elk Grove, residents pushed Wednesday night for the city to implement specific policy changes to address racism.
“Thus far the Elk Grove City Council has provided lapel buttons, billboards, but what we’re looking at is more than just words,” Amar Shergill, an Elk Grove resident and Executive Board Director at the California Democratic Party, said. “We’re looking at civic policy, public policy solutions.”
Shergill is a creator of “Equality Elk Grove” – a petition they brought to the city council meeting Wednesday.
The proposals in the initiative include launching a system to track hate incidents, a community policing commission, and a school board curriculum on racism and hate crimes.
“[These are] things that have been tried in other places across the state and have been deemed to be effective,” Shergill said.
The city council meeting came just two weeks after a Snapchat video surfaced of a student at Elk Grove’s Pleasant Grove High School making racist comments about African-Americans.
The student has not returned to school in the new year, but her peers, like 8th grader Analeah Moss, feel that was not an isolated incident.
“The first time I was called the N-word I was like 8 or 9,” Moss said. “The most recent I was 13.”
Moss came with her family to the city council meeting to show their support for the policy changes.
So far, 700 people have signed Shergill’s petition, but not everyone in Elk Grove agrees with his plan.
Elk Grove resident Doc Souza started a dueling petition arguing against proposals like the community policing commission. Nearly 1,400 people have signed his petition.
Even so, many community members -- like Sharie Wilson, who launched town halls about racism after her salon was the target of a hate crime last year – say that some action needs to be taken.
“Tonight, what they’re trying to do is have the city step up and continue what they started,” Wilson said. “We have to continue…we have to do something, we have to fix this.”