Michelle Hammond – District 3
1. The issue of reducing racial bias (conscious and unconscious) and systemic racism is a major concern throughout the nation, and in cities large and small, including South Pasadena.
If you are elected to the South Pasadena City Council, what specific actions will you pursue to reduce unconscious or conscious bias, systemic racism and hate crimes in the city?
We need to work toward a new system, a bold transformation of how to keep our city safe. We can do this by looking into our police enforcement training and how we can improve oversight. Police interactions that involve minor traffic enforcements and social service needs, including homeless interactions, should be shifted away from armed officers. Just last week unarmed Kurt Andreas Reinhold (42-yr-old Black man) was killed in southern California over a jaywalking violation. This has to stop.
I, as a council-member, would work hard to promote involvement and decision makers in place that are BIPOC. When we have a more diverse representation, it can create more productive discussion about the issues and how they relate to our city, which leads to inclusionary decision making. Education is also important. Many who don’t experience bias, hate, and racism have a hard time understanding how the system is set up to support acts of injustice. We need to support groups like ARC and do our part to discuss how racial bias and systemic racism is, indeed, in our city and raise the question of what we can do to take the steps to end it.
How will the effects of these actions be measured?
These could be measured by city staff and held accountable by the community, commissions, and city council. This is most successful if we can encourage more BIPOC involvement on the commissions who have a better understanding of the issues in the first place.
2. Anti-Racism means actively working to end racism, systemic racism and the oppression of marginalized groups. Describe the specific Anti-Racist actions you have taken in the past and how you intend to continue this work moving forward as a City Councilperson of South Pasadena.
In the past and present I have participated as an activist against racism and the oppression of marginalized groups, for BLM, women’s rights, vision zero, and the
climate crisis. Even within activist movements that do not target race as an issue, systemic racism still occurs within them. With all issues, unless we fix the core of racism and oppression we really won’t fix the issue.
I’m currently serving on the Mobility and Traffic Infrastructure Commission and use every opportunity I can to bring more safety measures in place on the streets of our town and point out when suggested plans and policies promote racism in policing by the city. While we cannot locally change a state law like jaywalking, we can change our street infrastructure to eliminate the opportunity. We also can shift the infrastructure to reduce speeds by design which reduces the amount of traffic enforcement. Racial profiling by police occurs easiest when there is a “reason” for the stop. Locally we can reduce those “reasons,” making it more difficult for the police officers that choose to abuse their power.
3. Please share your views on the Black Lives Matter movement. Are you in support of this movement and actions being taken both locally and nationally?
I am in support of BLM and the actions they are striving for both locally and nationally. I believe in their demands of systematic change, divestment from criminalization, transformative reimagining of public safety, and meaningful investment in our communities. They have been integral in influencing Los Angeles to put forth motions to remove armed officers from responding to non-violent calls for service and removing armed officers from traffic enforcement. We also now have measure J on the ballot, which will help to make these transformations possible. This progress would have never happened without Black Lives Matter.