On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was murdered when a white police officer placed his knee on Floyd’s neck. Coast-to-coast, protests erupted, and, locally, Santa Cruz police Chief Andy Mills took a knee alongside Mayor Justin Cummings and a sea of protestors in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
But while that might be a sign of progress, there have been other signs that America, and Santa Cruz, haven’t moved forward like some might have hoped in terms of racial justice in the past year.
From the shootings of other young Black men nationally to “no white guilt” rocks turning up in Santa Cruz County to hate being directed at Asian Americans here and elsewhere, there’s a lot to ponder one year after Floyd’s killing.
Lookout Santa Cruz invited some key community voices to speak about how far they believe we've come, both as a community here in Santa Cruz County and as a nation. The list of speakers will include:
Dr. David H. Anthony III has been a professor of African History at UC Santa Cruz since 1988. Anthony's focus on research includes: African and African-American history, art, music, literature and cinema; Eastern and Southern Africa; African languages; Indian Ocean world; African and African American linkages; Islamic civilization; African diaspora studies; World history. Anthony is a leader in campus public service, and has participated in a broad range of events such as film screenings, public talks and exhibitions, including the UC Santa Cruz Annual Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial Convocation.
Cat Willis is the Founder and Executive Director of the Tannery World Dance and Cultural Center. She is a founding member of the Santa Cruz County Black Coalition for Justice and Racial Equity and is founding director of the Black Health Matters Initiative alongside community partners; County Park Friends, United Way of, NAACP Santa Cruz Chapter, Blended Bridge, and the SCC Black Coalition for Justice and Racial Equity. She currently sits on the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County RISE Together leadership circle and the Santa Cruz County's Commission on Anti-Racism, Economic & Social (CARES) Justice.
Spike Wong is local playwright and former school teacher. Born in Watsonville, Spike had the quintessential 1950’s small town California upbringing. His father’s parents had landed here while they were agricultural laborers and cannery workers. After his father’s WWII military service in the US Army Air Force, he eventually became a partner in a grocery store. His mom was a business and school secretary through most of her working career. Through their hard work, all three of their sons graduated from college.
Thank you to our media partners Think Local First and Monterey Bay Economic Partnership