Developing Community Solutions for the Benefit of All
The purpose of the Santa Barbara Eastside Society is to address, educate, coordinate, and implement community solutions that improve the quality of life on the Eastside and increase the well-being and health of our diverse community members.
Do the Right Thing
An Editorial by Eastside Society President Tino De Guevara
June 6, 2020
In Spike Lee’s 1989 film, Do the Right Thing, there is an ongoing conflict between the characters who must distinguish between love and hate, right and wrong, good and evil. Mookey, played by Spike Lee, is reminded
by the neighborhood drunk, Da Mayor (Ozzie Davis), that whatever he decides, he must do the right thing.
Presently, we are in the clutches of ethical and moral dilemmas that require us to take action on insidious racial issues. Today, our society is plagued with a deadly virus as well as the despicable disease of institutional racism, an affliction no less deadly and no less viral. During this time of social distancing and civic unrest, the specter of racism haunts our streets and neighborhoods. Once again, the African-American community has been targeted by the wonted slaying of Mr. George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. The actions and policies of law enforcement are the cause and effect of the rioting and unrest foisted upon our cities.
Statistically speaking, African-American men between the ages of 15- 34 are between 9 to 16 times more likely to be slain by enforcement officers (The Society Pages). In 2017, 19 unarmed African-Americans were killed by police (The Atlantic). Hispanic males comprised 16% of all persons shot by police in 2019 (Washington Post), and it’s even worse for Native Americans who make up only 2% of the population and who are most likely to be killed by police officers (Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice). Any way you slice it, people of color are more likely to be shot and killed by police than Caucasians. The question remains: How are we to act and address these life and death issues regarding institutional racism? What is the right thing to do?
It is time to look at the ugly side of racism in our law enforcement institutions. Local governments need to create human relations commissions that review use of deadly force, questionable police tactics,
training policies and non-lethal methods of effecting an arrest.
The public must demand transparency from government services and law enforcement agencies and work together to address this systemic, racial pandemic. Generally, we don’t give a second thought about a police shooting unless, of course, it happens to someone we personally know. The point is we must demand an end to the senseless killing of people of color by those sworn to protect us because in the end, history will judge us by our actions, whether for good or for evil.
Do the right thing and financially support, participate or volunteer with those organizations that are looking to eradicate institutional racism and improve human relations between the community and law enforcement.
Tino De Guevara, President,
Santa Barbara Eastside Society
The views expressed in President's Corner are the personal opinions of the Santa Barbara Eastside Society President . They do not represent the official policy or views of the Santa Barbara Eastside Society.
"The Santa Barbara Eastside Society is dedicated to the proposition that community comes first. We hope you become a Member and support 'Community First' by joining the Santa Barbara Eastside Society."
- Tino A. De Guevara, President, Santa Barbara Eastside Society