Bob’s Blog: What is “The Work”?

While the recorded vile and bigoted conversations involving certain Los Angeles City Councilmembers represent a shocking and sobering development for the civic landscape of our region, I took some refuge in the number and sources of expressed outrage through publicly released statements – particularly from Latino civic leaders.  The California Endowment shares the outrage.

My attention, however, now quickly shifts away from statements of outrage and shock to the work that must be done work that is constructive, productive, healing, reconciliatory – and strategic.  The anti-Black racist commentary we’ve all either heard or read in recent days was incubated by fears and concerns about power – in this case, the power of political representation and the fears and anxiety about loss of power to Black folks.  But “power” to achieve what end?  The power to be heard, seen, and felt; the power to advance equity in public education and funding for schools; the power to have full health coverage for the community; the power to assert economic inclusion for struggling and low-income families; the struggle to affordably be housed.

So, I ask, is what Nury Martinez, Kevin DeLeon, Gil Cedillo, and Ron Herrera seeking for the Latino community fundamentally different than what the Black community, Oaxacan community, and LGBTQ community are seeking?  Isn’t equity and opportunity for ALL where our eyes on the prize reside?  All — not some.  And can’t we get there more effectively as a political strategy together, in a coalition, in unison?  And if the answer to this question about the fundamental pursuit of happiness is a “yes”, then what is the work required of us to reconcile, begin healing, and work toward a shared vision?

Just what is involved in this work?  Not certain in the immediate, but whatever is required, we at the California Endowment will be in support.  The stakes are simply too high.  And the only way to get past this is to walk right through it.  Engagement, not avoidance.  We will be there.

Dr. Bob Ross


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