The Turlock City Council received a standing ovation Tuesday night, following their unanimous vote to adopt a resolution that opposes bigotry, hate-based groups and hate-based crime of all kinds in the community.
The “Not in Our Community” resolution was brought before the Council at their Sept. 12 meeting by residents outraged by the recent papering of parts of northeast Turlock with white supremacy propaganda stickers.
On Tuesday, members of the community asked the Council to take a stand against the hate-based campaign by adopting the resolution.
“Today is a historic day. Today we have the opportunity to show the nation and the world the greatness of Turlock…Today is a day that will be immortalized in Turlock’s history. It’s going to be the day when Turlock stood up and said we will not take this,” said Turlock resident Danielle Reyes, who was one of the community members who found and took down at least 100 alt-right stickers on road signs near Turlock schools earlier this month.
“In this journey of writing this resolution and meeting the same, like-minded people who are also on the train for equality and social justice in our community, I never knew what a hard journey it would be to trek. I’ve been called a n***** more times in my life in the last two weeks than I can count, been called a crazy liberal, so many names under the sun that I won’t repeat. I have been shunned by members of my work force and my neighbors and publicly humiliated on social media. But here I stand in front of you,” said Danielle Reyes.
Reyes went on to talk about how the support of her children urged her on to fight for the City of Turlock to denounce the hate-based messages and the groups that disseminate them around town.
For resident Donna Endsely, the white supremacy propaganda put around town was a sign that the Nazi Party was trying to take a foothold in Turlock.
“I thought this can’t be happening in the town I chose to live in, with my dad a veteran and my grandfather an immigrant from Germany to flee that sort of stuff…This is a really personal thing for me. I read a lot about what happened in World War II. I know it started with just a really small crack and it grew and grew until it became a situation where they had to build concentration camps to kill their enemies,” said Endsely.
“We’re going to start at a small point with a little resolution from you guys, but it’s going to say a lot to the city. And I hope when you pass this resolution, that you also have the courage to make it really public, everywhere…make it public, make everybody know, we’re not going to allow that kind of behavior here in Turlock,” she continued.
The resolution prompted a number of impassioned speeches from community members, and the Council.
“I have never been as consumed by an issue, except by this. Formal, informal, legal teeth, no legal teeth, regardless, bullying, harassment, intimidation, discrimination…must stop in our nation. And I would enthusiastically join the effort to ensure that this does not continue in our county and our city, in our Turlock,” said Vice Mayor Bill DeHart.
Mayor Gary Soiseth called himself not just the infrastructure mayor, but also the social infrastructure mayor about his efforts to encourage inclusiveness in Turlock.
Council member Amy Bublak talked about her contributions on a committee to further inclusiveness at Stanislaus State and Council member Matthew Jacob thanked Reyes for her work on the resolution and called her courage inspiring.
Council member Gil Esquer quoted Martin Luther King, Jr., Theodore Roosevelt and Benjamin Franklin about fighting for justice.
“If not me, then who? If not now, then when?” said Esquer.
The “Not in Our Community” Resolution:
WHEREAS, bullying, harassment, and hate crimes have increased in cities and communities across America; and
WHEREAS, the County of Stanislaus and City of Turlock welcome and value diverse racial, ethnic, religious, and national backgrounds, and further recognize that our diversity is critical to the economic, cultural, and social well-being of our community; and
WHEREAS, history has tragically taught us what happens when people stand silently by and allow acts of intolerance, hatred, and violence to occur; and
WHEREAS, people often feel isolated, without hope, and helpless to do anything individually to end hate crime; and
WHEREAS, people in communities across our nation have stood up and
successfully opposed any acts of discrimination committed against their neighbors.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Turlock and its elected representatives stand up against bigotry, hate-based groups, and hate-based crime of all kinds within our organization and throughout the community and declares that no one shall be discriminated against because of race, faith, ethnicity, national origin, legal status, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, or any other real or perceived difference.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the City of Turlock stands together with all people of good faith across the nation in an effort to push back the rising tide of bullying, harassment, racism, and hate crimes to proclaim "Not in our City, Not in our Country, Not in our Community, Not in Turlock."