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Resolution in Support of Solidarity with the Black Community and Denouncing Anti-Black Racism and Violence

WHEREAS, social justice and criminal reform movements of the past few decades neglect to acknowledge that Black women and girls are frequent victims of violence and harassment but do not receive the same media attention, public condemnation, or calls for justice; and

WHEREAS, the Black women victims of State violence and excessive force are often forgotten, if they are ever made public in the first place, and include names such as Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Atatianna Jefferson, Pamela Turner, Alexia Christian, Mya Hall, Gabriella Nevarez, Shantel Davis, Malissa Williams, Shelly Frey, Kathryn Johnston, Alberta Spruill, Natasha McKenna, Sheneque Proctor, Rekia Boyd, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Meagan Hockaday, Denise Stewart, Roasann Miller, Alesia Thomas, Korryn Gaines, Nina Pop, Yvette Smith, Tarika Wilson, Kendra James, and Ma’Khia Bryant, alongside countless others; and

WHEREAS, Black women are often leaders in the fight for rights, social justice, and equality for all people, such as Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, who founded the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the murder of Trayvon Martin; and

WHEREAS, Black girls are 10 times more likely to be disciplined and 6 times more likely to be suspended than their White counterparts; and

WHEREAS, Black women account for a larger share of all police-initiated contacts than they do arrests suggesting more interactions with law enforcement than arrest records represent; and

WHEREAS, Black women are approximately 17 percent more likely to be stopped in a police-initiated traffic stop than White women; and

WHEREAS, Black women are roughly three times as likely to be arrested during a traffic stop than White women; and

WHEREAS, Black women are more than three times as likely as White women to experience the use of force during police-initiated stops; and

WHEREAS, the imprisonment rate for Black women is twice that of White women; and

WHEREAS, almost 80 percent of Black mothers are key breadwinners for their families, which means their households rely heavily on their wages to make ends meet and get ahead; and

WHEREAS, four million family households in the United States are headed by Black women – and nearly 1 in 4 of those households live below the poverty level. This means that more than 900,000 family households headed by Black women live in poverty, demonstrating the imperative to eliminate the wage gap; and

WHEREAS, Black women in the United States are paid 63 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, leaving them with less money to support themselves and their families, save and invest for the future, and spend on goods and services; and

WHEREAS, the wage gap for Black women represents the tangible consequences of sexism and white supremacy in the United States and how our country systematically devalues women of color and their labor; and

WHEREAS, wages of Black women are driven down by factors such as gender and racial discrimination, workplace harassment, job segregation and a lack of workplace policies that support family caregiving, which is still most often performed by women.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT it is the sense of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women that -

(1) the harm, trauma, and deaths of Black women must be recognized;

(2) the position of Black women is unique in this country, and therefore deserves specific, focused intervention to bring about equality of access, opportunity, and justice;

(3) any legislation passed to remedy racial inequities in the United States, especially those present in the criminal justice system, must include reforms to address concerns for Black women; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT that the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women acknowledges the injustices perpetrated against Black people in Sonoma County, specifically, and in America, in general. From slavery, to lynchings, to white supremacist laws, to the denial of voting rights.  For all the oppression, for the denial of human and civil rights, for inequities in criminal justice, for instances of police brutality, for the denial of opportunity, for economic injustice, for all ways that racism has fostered these wrongs; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women acknowledges the many leadership roles black women have held and continue to take on in our county; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT that the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women apologizes for not putting forth a resolution acknowledging the injustices of Black women and their families last year; and

THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED THAT the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women will donate $750 to the Santa Rosa Junior College chapter of the Black Student Union with the passage of this resolution. 

THE FOREGOING RESOLUTION was duly adopted this 13th day of May 2021, by the following vote:
Ayes: 9  Noes: 0  Absent: 3  Abstained: 2

Contact Information

Commission on the Status of Women
Human Resources Department
County of Sonoma
Business Hours
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sonoma County Administration Building
575 Administration Drive
Suite 116B
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.464975, -122.725632
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