Healing of righteousness calls for more action from the district board ahead of the June 10th celebration Local news

While the Santa Barbara County Board of Directors passed a resolution on Tuesday declaring June 19 to be June 10 of the county, the Santa Barbara Healing Justice Department requested that the board stop making statements and taking action by standing within two years Provides $ 500,000 to start a Black and African American cultural center in Santa Barbara.

While the purpose of the agenda item was to hear about local efforts and recognize the June holidays, Healing Justice used their presentation time to ask the county for more.

“We understand that Juneteenth as a whole was not realized, that there is still a lack of investment,” said Simone Akila Ruskam, co-founder of Healing Justice. “The needs of blacks are being devalued. We come here today to say again that we will not fight for pennies with other organizers. “

Healing Justice is a black-led and black-centered organizational collective in the Santa Barbara District that aims to empower, center, and create spaces that empower all blacks.

It succeeded in redistributing more than $ 3,000 in emergency grants to black residents, created an entirely new equitable hiring process for the Santa Barbara city council, boards of directors, and commissions, and established one in partnership with UC Santa Barbara and the Hosford Clinic Healing Center in order to offer all black residents in the entire district free therapy through black commissions.

“We’re really trying to really show that we’ve done the job,” said Ruskamp. “We came to you a year ago and said that this is what our church needs and wanted, and the church doesn’t offer it, and instead of just giving up, we created what we lack.”

Ruskamp said the county set aside money to promote racial justice, then reduced it to justice, and then said the county allocated much of that money to human resources, “essentially just paying for itself.”

Healing Justice asked the board for $ 500,000 to establish a cultural resource center for blacks and African American people, saying that Healing Justice would allow Healing Justice to do the work the board “refused” to do. Healing Justice recently asked the Santa Barbara City Council for funding, but it was also turned down.

“Today we ask you to invest sensibly in this work and not to keep telling blacks to wait,” said Ruskamp. “You were all chosen to serve the blacks in your community and many of you did not.”

The first district overseer, Das Williams, said that establishing a cultural resource center for Blacks and African Americans was “a worthwhile endeavor” and that the county established the stock fund. However, in remarks about the human resources department, he said that this was an important expense, “not the county that pays itself”.

“It’s an effort led by people of color in HR, by the way, to make sure this is a place and this is an employer that values ​​diversity, inclusion and a place where people of color can find a job and thrive , “he said.” I think this is an important effort and so I am not rejecting the need for HR. “

Williams encouraged Healing Justice to apply for equity funding for a cultural center, but said he wasn’t sure receiving the full $ 500,000 would prevail.

Fifth district head Steve Lavagnino said Santa Barbara may not be the best place to build the cultural center and suggested that it be set up in Lompoc.

Ruskamp asked for time to respond to Lavagnino’s suggestion, saying that the same courtesy was shown to the moderators of the previous article. Chairman of the Board, Bob Nelson, stated that the final presentation was an appeal hearing and that Ruskamp would only be given additional speaking time if the board asked a question.

“OK, well, can someone please ask me a question about the proposal to place the center in Lompoc and why we suggested that it be where it is?” Said Ruskamp. “You all make suggestions, you all try to create barriers without consulting any blacks.”

Ruskamp said that Healing Justice chose the location of the center very deliberately because of the historic black community on the east side of Santa Barbara.

“Therefore, given the history of blacks in a given area, it is not appropriate to suggest that it be elsewhere without significant conversation,” she said.

Ruskamp and senior organizer Mariah Jones-Bisquera already started their presentation in frustration after having to wait an eight hour meeting just to give their presentation, and they accused the board of disregarding their time.

“I wish you had shown us the same respect as our white colleagues, who were able to point out their unavailability, and that black lives were a priority in setting up today’s schedule,” said Jones-Bisquera.

“We never had the opportunity to choose the timing ourselves,” added Ruskamp.

Some of the speakers who were about to give a speech were unable to do so due to the delay in the presentation.

Although the money for the resource center was not awarded to Healing Justice, Healing Justice partnered with Juneteenth Santa Barbara to host a series of celebrations in honor of the upcoming holiday.

“We are excited to showcase our beautiful black community and provide a platform for the celebration and education of Juneteenth,” said Jordan Killebrew, co-founder of Juneteenth SB, to Noozhawk.

This is the fourth year Juneteenth SB is holding celebrations, Killebrew said, but it is the first time the organization has received immense funding and community support.

According to a letter submitted by the board of directors, the Community Services Department provided $ 10,000 of one-time funding for the June 10th celebration, which was divided evenly between the celebrations in the northern and southern counties.

Throughout June, Melanin, a gallery for black artists, will be showcasing all-black art for the community to enjoy and learn about black history. The gallery at 833 State St. is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10am to 4pm for the remainder of the month.

On June 18, Juneteenth SB is hosting a virtual program that includes interviews with United Hope, a student panel with UCSB and High School Black Student Unions, and youth learning tools from Gateway EDU.

On June 19, there will be a Chocolate Baby Story Time virtual program from 9:00 am to 9:30 am and a black craft fair will be held at 833 State St. from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm

On the evening of June 19, a virtual program will include a greeting from the founders of Juneteenth SB, a performance of the Black national anthem by Talitha Black, libations by Rev. David Moore, a Juneteenth poem read by Gateway Youth, performances by Mariano Silva and Jahbone as well a gallery tour and interviews.

In Lompoc, Collective Cultures Creating Change is holding a June 10 celebration from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Ryon Park. The celebration includes games for children and adults, arts and crafts, food trucks, poetry, dance and a puppet show, among other things. There will also be a mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the celebration.

– Noozhawk’s author, Jade Martinez-Pogue, can be reached at (JavaScript must be activated to display this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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