Sundown town

acknowledging glendale's racist past

USING THE ARCHIVES TO MAKE A CASE

While in custody, George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25, 2020. Protests erupted in cities throughout the United States calling not only for a reform in how police handled non-violent situations with Black people, but for the country to reckon with the racism inherent in its existence. On June 7, 2020, more than 1,500 demonstrators marched in Glendale in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. 

In September of 2020, Tanita Harris-Ligons of the group Black in Glendale, which works to promote respect for Black culture, and Tara Peterson, CEO of YWCA Glendale, together formed the Coalition for an Anti-Racist Glendale. The Coalition is a group of committed community members, parents, educators, and faith leaders who seek to move Glendale forward to become a more equitable community. By 2027, the group hopes to advance systematic change in Glendale in five key areas: housing, employment, education, justice and health.

 

The first step towards this goal was a historical statement, written in conjunction with City and Library Staff, and a “sundown town” resolution, which is a formal expression of intent adopted by a City Council. Research was conducted using the City’s archives of resolutions and ordinances as well as the Glendale Central Library’s archives of historical documents, images and newspaper clippings. A report was drafted outlining Glendale’s history of discrimination toward people of color. It asked the City Council to acknowledge Glendale’s historical contributions to racism and to adopt a resolution publicly acknowledging Glendale’s history as a “sundown town,” a town that was “‘all white’ on purpose,” actively making African Americans unwelcome within its city limits. The report and resolution were presented; the City Council adopted them unanimously on September 15, 2020.  

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“Coalition for an Anti-Racist Glendale Urges City Council to Pass Historic Sundown Town Resolution Acknowledging History of Racism and Commitment to a More Equitable Glendale.” YWCA Glendale California, 9 Sep, 2020. Press Release

Seidman, Lila. “Glendale confronts its racist past, apologizing for ‘sundown’ laws.” Los Angeles Times. Oct 15, 2020. Accessed Feb 24, 2021.