Monday, July 18, 2022

Arcata Council to Consider Unity Statement, Land Acknowledgement

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2022 at 2:37 PM

  • City of Arcata
The Arcata City Council will consider Wednesday supporting a "Statement of Unity against Anti-Semitic Messages and all Forms of Hate Speech" in the wake of anti-Semitic flyers found in the city and other areas of the county in recent weeks.

While most of the distributions now under investigation occurred around the Fourth of July, a resident in Trinidad reported finding similar materials today.

The holiday weekend was further marred by other incidents, including the assault of a Black man on Eureka's waterfront in which he reported being called a racial slur (arrest warrants have been issued for two men) and threats made against a trans man in Fortuna. Read more here, here and here.

The statement up for consideration notes the spread of anti-Semitic rhetoric escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic and states the Arcata City Council stands “united in our zero-tolerance position against all forms of hate speech in our city.”

“As a defender of free-speech, Arcata has always supported people’s rights under the first amendment. But let’s be clear — the Arcata City Council and our community soundly reject and condemn ANY hate filled messages and any inference to discrimination of any kind to any person or group,” the statement reads in part. “To our Jewish residents and neighbors, be assured that as a community, Arcata will stand up together to reject anti-Semitic messages and all forms of hate speech.”

The statement further encourages local residents and businesses to display signs that read, “Arcata Stands United Against Hate,” which will be available at the meeting.

The council will also consider adding a land acknowledgement recently approved by the Wiyot Tribal Council to meeting agendas, which states:

“The city of Arcata acknowledges that the lands we are located on are the unceded ancestral lands of the Wiyot tribe. The land that Arcata rests on is known in the Wiyot language as Goudi’ni, meaning ‘over in the woods’ or ‘among the redwoods.’ Past actions by local, State and Federal governments removed the Wiyot and other Indigenous peoples from the land and threatened to destroy their cultural practices. The city of Arcata acknowledges the Wiyot community, their elders both past and present, as well as future generations. This Acknowledgment seeks to aid in dismantling the legacy narratives of settler colonialism.

In other business, the city will consider a military equipment use policy ordinance to be in compliance with Assembly Bill 481, which “provides certain requirements for the funding, acquisition, and use of military equipment” by local law enforcement agencies. (Find the full text of the bill passed by the state Legislature in 2021 and signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom here.)

Other items include approving responses to Humboldt County Grand Jury reports and considering assignments to fill vacancies on various regional boards, commissions, committees and liaison positions with Councilmember Alex Stillman recently coming on board after winning the seat in a special June election.

The full agenda for the 6 p.m. meeting can be found here
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Kimberly Wear

Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

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