By Sonny Tapia
The problems and questions in America that relate to racial equity are the same as the ones from the 1970s.
Angela Davis spoke in a town hall meeting held by the office of the East Los Angeles College President Alberto Roman. The meeting discussed racial equity and social justice in America today from colonization to the death of Black human beings.
The Black Lives Matter movement has rallied with the statement “Black Lives Matter” on signs and shirts, but has never said that only Black lives matter. Davis said that the saying of black lives matter does not mean only Black lives matter. She said it is a statement to move the world toward the ultimate goal of all human lives matter.
Davis said that right now the focus needs to be on the lives of Black human beings. The presidential election was another topic talked about in the meeting.
“It is about time that the Black women of the voting system are recognized for once,” Davis said. “During this election it was primarily Black women that denied the country of a fascist movement.”
In the 2020 presidential election blackvoters made up 11% of the presidential electorate and nine out of 10 of them voted for Joe Biden, according to the Associated Press.
The Associated Press also wrote in an article that Biden received 93% of the votes in the Philadelphia wards that are 75% Black.
Change for equality is something that happens over time Davis said and she added that the school systems must be changed.
President of the Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles Community College District Andra Hoffman said that the district convened a Title IX sexual assault task force. “We revised administrative regulations to conform with the title nine regulations and hired more people of color and women to our administrations than previous years,” Hoffman said.
Title IX is a part of the education amendments act that prohibits a school to limit the access of a person based on sex or be excluded from participation. In the area of advocacy during the past legislative year LACCD sponsored AB 3310 that makes community colleges offer courses in ethnic studies in order to cooperate with Cal State Universities and Universities of California requirements for graduation.
“We have partnered with the Los Angeles Urban League, Brotherhood Crusade and The National Council of Negro Women to make a connection with the black community and to gain more enrollments from people of color,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman said that there is much more work to do and that the board will continue to root out the racism in the community of the LACCD to give an equal opportunity to everyone.
Davis was asked by ELAC history professor Barbara Dunsheath, “Do you believe there needs to be an abolitionist alternative for the educational system and what is needed in the system across the United States to fully devowed the feeding into the prison system.”
“Thinking about how the educational system is linked to the United States prison system is crucial. It is important to discuss that many schools in black and Latin communities reflect the values of imprisonment,” Davis said. “It is as if the schools are leading the students into a life doomed for the prison system. From metal detectors to armed officers on campuses, it all must be removed.”
Board of Trustees member Steve Veres said that he remembered being a student listening to Davis and how she gave inspiration to all student activists.
“One really important thing to remember is that we view California as a progressive state, but there is still a lot of work to do. During my time at UCLA, I remember the time when Proposition 209 was being viewed by the people of California and confronted,” Veres said.
Veres said that as a community, we have to push the boundaries of racial equity to the limit and then move it further forward.
Proposition 209 was a proposition that prevented the state from making preferred actions for grants based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or origin.
“Sometimes it takes a lot of time to see the fruits of your work prosper, but in the current juncture the little victories are your fruit,” Davis said.
Davis said that community is the one thing that has to stick together and she talked about her time when she was put in jail for a crime she did not commit.
In 1970, Davis was arrested for supposedly being in connection with a shooting that occured in a courtroom in San Raphael, California.
Davis was later sentenced to 18 months in prison and she said that it completely filled her with fear. Something that she feared most was taking the final walk to execution.
“I thought about what it would be like to take that final walk into California’s gas chamber and it seized me with fear. The visualizations from my mind scared me, but when I saw the protests forming all around the world it comforted me,” Davis said.
“I feared taking that walk alone. Even if I would have taken that final walk I knew I was not going to be alone because I had a community.”