Agendas and Minutes

Social Equity and Racial Justice Committee (View All)

Social Equity and Racial Justice Advisory Committee

Thursday, January 05, 2023

Social Equity and Racial Justice Commission
January 5, 2023, 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm
Remote Meeting via Zoom
1. Call to order: 5:00
Attendance: Simon, Williams, Yamaguchi, Santiago, DuQuenne (council liaison) Seltzer (staff liaison)
Absent: Choudhary, Gillis, Decker
2. Approval of Minutes of December 1, 2022
M/S Williams/Yamaguchi, motion passed unanimously.
3. Public Input: None
4. Report/Update from members
  • Simon read a report from Decker about the City Volunteer Appreciation event.  Decker reported that it was well attended and several people expressed interest in the work of SERJ.
  • Simon read a report from Decker about the response from SOU President.  He has not responded to her email asking how SOU ensures the candidate pool is diverse.  She will send another message to his personal email.
  • Santiago suggested April 21 for a social meeting.  Williams is unable to attend.  Santiago will review possible dates in May.
  • Yamaguchi provided an overview of the welcoming project and her ongoing discussions with Joe Lessard on the design of the project.  It is now called Ashland Together.  It was noted that this term is already in use.  Yamaguchi will discuss a new name with Lessard.
5. February 2 meeting
Simon reported that representatives from the Ashland School District will attend the February 2 meeting.  They were invited to attend to talk about the work of the district through the lends of equity and diversity.  In addition, both Williams and Decker had specific comments and questions of the ASD.  Simon informed Williams that she will turn the meeting over to her and to Decker to ask questions of the ASD representatives.
6. Update on member recruitment.
Yamaguchi reported that SOU Assistant Professor Enrique Chacon has applied for appointment to SERJ.  The hope is he will be appointed prior to the February SERJ meeting.
7. Which events does SERJ want to participate in during 2023.
Yamaguchi notes that SERJ has committed to planning for MLK in 2024.  In addition, the members agreed to participate in Juneteenth with BASE.  SERJ will have a booth at the event and should determine what it wants to have in/at the booth.  SERJ will also participate in the Pride Parade in October.  Yamaguchi notes that the Cesar Chavez Leadership Conference is in March at SOU and is well attended by the Latinx community in southern Oregon.  She and Santiago will participate in Asian Heritage Month in May.
Williams suggested SERJ write a statement about Black History Month that could be posted on the city’s website. 
8. Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King
Simon gave an overview of the MLK celebration in Ashland.  Flags and a banner will be hung.  Information is posted on the city’s website with links to several informative MLK videos.
DuQuenne noted there will be a gathering on the Plaza between 1:00 and 2:30. Activities will include a gospel music, speakers reading excerpts from King/s book ‘Why We Can’t Wait’ and Dr. King’s “I have a Dream Speech” will be played.
Decker has invited members of SERJ to speak about the MLK event on JPR prior to January 16.
9. Report on the meeting with representatives of Ashland Forward and SERJ involvement.
Simon reported on the meeting she and Seltzer attended with representatives of Ashland Forward (now called Ashland Together). The group intends to work with Oregon Remembrance’s Sunrise Project to document sundown cities in Oregon and exclusionary laws.  The intent is to educate ourselves and our communities about the historic sundown practice in Oregon.  SERJ members expressed interest in working with Ashland Together to document the history of exclusion in Ashland.
Simon encouraged the group to visit the website to learn more about the project.
10. SERJ response to vandalism of the Menorah in Medford.
Simon reported that the Medford Menorah was vandalized twice in one week by the same person.  She noted the rise of antisemitism around the country and that several cities in the state of Washington have issued antisemitism proclamations. 
Seltzer is drafting a proclamation and Simon will share it with her work group at Temple Emek Shalom.  DuQuenne will request the reading of the proclamation be on the city council agenda for February 7.
Motion: Yamaguchi/Williams SERJ declares its intolerance of antisemitism and supports the public declaration of antisemitism via a city council proclamation.  Motion passes unanimously.
11. Upcoming events/Other Business
Simon reminded the group about the Public Art forum to discuss Ancestor’s Call: Crystalizing our Future on January 12 at 7:00 p.m. at the Ashland Library.
In addition, she noted the city council’s Town Hall Meeting on January 30, at 5:30 in the old Armory on Oak Street.  DuQuenne explained the format of the meeting is small groups discussing a given topic at each table.  The list of topics is still being developed.

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