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Diversity Task Force Begins Work, Plans to Survey Residents on Renaming Columbus Day

Santa Clara’s Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion met Thursday to review its work plan. Future committee meetings are scheduled for the second Monday of the month.

Listening sessions, which are currently scheduled at the regular meetings, are “designed to allow for a diverse range of input, experiences, and stories, and will help ensure that the voices of communities of color are included as the main focus of the Task Force’s considerations in developing policy and strategy recommendations.”

The March 8 meeting will include a presentation on “Factors Relevant to Review of Police Policies.” Santa Clara Police Chief noted that the Police Department has a new police use-of-force simulator that the department will be talking about at that meeting.

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In October, the task force will review the findings of a police policy review and recommend policy changes to the City Council.

In April, the task force will launch a survey on renaming Columbus Day and review the City’s facilities naming policies. The task force plans to take action on renaming Columbus Day in June.

The proposed survey has asked respondents to indicate a preference for one of the following alternatives:

  • Maintain Status Quo: Observe Columbus Day on the 2nd Monday of October
  • Observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day (or an alternate holiday name that honors Native Americans) instead of Columbus Day on the 2nd Monday of October
  • Observe both Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the 2nd Monday of October or on different days
  • Observe Columbus Day on the 2nd Monday of October and observe Native American Heritage Day on the 4th Friday of September

Columbus Day is a City holiday, but Native American Day, while a state holiday, isn’t a City holiday. Whether a separate Native American Day would be another paid holiday for City employees would be subject to union negotiations, according to City Attorney Brian Doyle.

In December the committee aims to present its findings and make recommendations to the Council. The committee plans to continue into 2022.

The task force was formed last October, according to its mission statement  “In response to the national call for police use of force reform” and will “make recommendations for changes in government policies, structures, services, and culture that negatively impact or do not fully benefit historically disenfranchised communities.”

The task force is also developing partnerships with community organizations and has formalized connections with African American Community Service Agency, Bill Wilson Center and SCU’s Markkula Center on public ethics.

More information — including agendas, minutes and meeting recordings — is available at santaclaraca.gov and by emailing equitytaskforce@santaclaraca.gov.

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1 Comment
  1. Davy L. 5 months ago
    Reply

    Here is one police policy that definitely needs to be included: This concerns an article from today’s San Jose Mercury News: Santa Clara City Police Department plagued by racism, lawsuit alleges: 46 of the department’s 49 management positions or 94% are held by people who identified as White. In comparison, only 45% of Santa Clara City residents are White, according to the most recent U.S. Census. The federal lawsuit was filed this Monday (3/1/21) against the city of Santa Clara and Police Chief, Patrick Nikolai, by Santa Clara police Sgt. Jacob Malae.

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