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Related Categories: California | Racial Justice
Institutional Responses to the Black Lives Matter Movement in Sonoma County
by Gabriela Lopez et al.
Wednesday May 19th, 2021 4:17 PM
This research paper investigates the institutional responses to the BLM Movement within Sonoma County. By analyzing newspaper articles and qualitative interviews, we were able to determine what kind of responses were happening within the Healthcare, Education, Business and Political sectors in Sonoma County.
Institutional Responses to the Black Lives Matter Movement in Sonoma County

By Gabriela Lopez, Lilyana Pantoja, Rebecca Magallon, Bertha Martinez, Emily Medina Herrera, Anferny Moore, Luis Mucino, Tiziana Ruotolo, Will Petersen













Introduction:

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement is a social movement that started in 2013 with the killing of an innocent boy named Trayvon Martin. The movement has continued throughout the years gaining tens of thousands of followers. Supporters of the movement believe that there needs to be significant changes in the United States cultural system and that police officers need to be held accountable for the killings that they commit, especially those involving innocent civilians.
As the movement has gotten bigger so has the number of casualties of people who have lost their lives protesting for those who were wrongfully killed. Commonly, BLM demonstrations were being met with militarized police in riot gear, protesters were often beaten, and tear gassed for expressing their feelings about the need for racial justice. The BLM movement has gotten so big it has become hard to ignore and is making it to numerous cities around the country. BLM activists are backed by large numbers of people who believe in the same ideals that we are all equal and deserve to not be judged or discriminated against by the color of one's skin.
The movement has made it to Sonoma County and after the murder of George Floyd, we saw how Santa Rosa stood in protest and showed it support for the Black Lives Matter movement. As the protest progressed and police officers began to bring out riot gear, we saw it quickly escalated into officers attacking protesters causing injuries.
Our primary research question is to find out what the institutional responses are to the Black Lives Matter movement in Sonoma County. Many institutions in Sonoma County hold a large role in creating a difference or influence in the society, so our research group felt that it would be important to analyze what steps these organizations took in support of BLM or lack thereof.
We chose five categories of institutions to analyze as we believed that they held the most influence on social activism matters. The five that we chose were those from education, healthcare, businesses, religion, and political offices. Each of these institutional types had roles to play in the Black Lives Matter movement. We believe that they should be willing to create a diverse and safe space for all people of color in Sonoma County. After our interviews, we would rate each institutional category with an overall rating of their local responses to the Black Lives Matter movement. With our research questions, we also wanted to find out in what ways that these institutions were supporting their employees of color and the fight for equal opportunities within the county.
As a starting point for our research, we analyzed the demographics of Sonoma County to understand the reason for the dynamics within the institutions that we chose. According to the United States Census Bureau, it is found that Sonoma County is 86.8 percent of White people, 27.3 percent of Hispanic or Latino people, 4.6 percent of Asian people, and 2.1 percent of Black people. By reviewing these statistics, it is not too far off to assume that Sonoma County is a predominantly white county with a minority of people of color in the population. These statistics also tell us that because of the population demographics, these institutions may already have issues with diversity and understanding the issues that minorities face. Because of this variable, we believe that it is important to analyze how each of these institutions reacted to the Black Lives Matter movement as well as their plan to support employees (or students) of color.



Primary Research Question:
How has the Black Lives Matter movement affected the institutional responses in Sonoma County?
Literature Review:
In 2013, Black Lives Matter began as a hashtag on twitter by Patrice Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi to bring awareness to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin. Although it began as a hashtag following Zimmerman's case, innocent Black lives lost after that moved it from a hashtag, to a means of gathering and protesting against anti-black racism. Following the killing of eighteen-year-old Mike Brown on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, the hashtag moved from “social media to the streets''. The movement characterizes the efforts of Black people, and their allies, fighting for an end to police brutality and racial violence against the Black community, while also demanding accountability. The movement has used different means of organization across the country- occupations, dine-ins, marches, rallies- to advance their cause and bring an end to the murdering of Black lives.

Black Lives Matter Across the Country
The Black Lives Matter Movement has been active over the years, protesting the killings of black people at the hands white people, they include Tamir Rice (2014), Laquan McDonald (2014), John Crawford (2014), Freddie Gray (2015), Walter Scott (2015) Alton Sterling (2016) Philando Castile (2016), Terence Crutcher (2016), Antwon Rose (2018) and the list goes on. From 2013 to 2019, police around the country killed 7,655 black people.
Another movement grew out of BLM known as “Say Her Name” bringing light to women and girls who are killed at the hands of police, such as Sandra Bland (2015), Debroah Danner (2016), Atatiana Jefferson (2019) and Breonna Taylor (2020). The objective of the Black Lives Matter Movement is to not only to bring awareness to these killings, but to also bring equality to black people by pursuing policy solutions and real change.
Although BLM protests have been going on for years; the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, resulted in massive civil unrest across the nation in 2020. According to the New York Times, more than seven million people participated in recent protests. Cite
Social media has been an important tool in organizing protests across the country. The recent protests of the BLM movement even pressured business corporations to show support for the movement and solidarity for the lives lost. In the midst of protests, many people have called out companies for not taking action after claiming to be allies of BLM.

Black Lives Matter in Sonoma County
Following the murder of George Floyd, protests sparked all around the country, including in Sonoma County. In Santa Rosa, California, on May 30, what started off as hundreds protesting and marching, grew to thousands as the days continued. The protests lasted for weeks, continuing until June 11. Many people of all ethnicities gathered with intentions of peacefully protesting. A small number of individuals became violent, especially towards police officers and businesses once it got closer to nightfall.
In Sebastopol, California, hundreds of protestors gathered to demand change and accountability, not only for George Floyd, but also from local police officers as well. Some protests were held by younger individuals who were inspired by social media unrest. A rally held in Rohnert Park was attended by more than 300 people who marched to public safety headquarters demanding to be treated equally and bring awareness to the city council's silence on addressing institutional racism. Similarly, in Petaluma, about 500 protestors marched to the police department bringing recognition to the events that occurred in Minneapolis, Black Lives Matter, and ending police brutality. There are about ten organizations in Sonoma county that work to make a difference as part of the Black Lives Matter Movement with ways to participate and support. They all had the same message- the end to anti-black racism, accountability, and justice.

Backlash
Although the Black Lives Matter movement has made an effort to bring equality to Black Americans, they have received a lot of backlash from different groups. Specifically, police officers have coined the phrase “blue lives matter'' as a way to oppose the BLM movement. The difference between the two statements is that one is a consciously chosen occupation and the other is a racial identity. The Blue Lives Matter folks attempt to argue that BLM is anti- police; however, this is not true because the BLM movement aims to reform police departments due to police-involved shootings of black lives.
Another common response such as “all lives matter” has been heard across the country. This was another attempt to minimize the BLM movement at any means possible. All lives matter is a prejudice-filled term that was born out of the BLM movement as an attempt to ignore the racism that Black people encounter on a daily basis. All lives matter has been used as a common rebuttal since the BLM movement and in many cases has been used to purposefully create conflict. All lives matter fails to recognize the challenges that black people face as a minority in our country.
To conclude the backlash portion of our paper, concrete evidence must be presented in order to fully understand how this backlash started. Donald Trump, in the early goings of the BLM movement showed little to no remorse as a person let alone the president of the United States. There are too many instances to cite but one is when he took a picture just outside St. John's church in Washington DC. He had the military and national guard remove demonstrators that were protesting and grieving by force just for a picture with him holding the bible with the church in the background. It is almost sacrilegious to hold a bible when there is no condolences or prayer said. It was merely a prop. Another point, and I feel is the major point of the BLM movement is the disportionate in killings by cops between the white and black communities. In the United States, according to the 2019 US census, the US had 328 million Americans. 76.3 percent of those Americans are of white ethnicity or descent. 13.4 percent are of black ethnicity or descent. From 2017 to 2021 1,797 white Americans were killed by police. In that same time period, 970 African- Americans were killed by the police. With that evidence alone, you can see why people, especially in the African American community are visibly upset about the disproportionate number of killings.


Accountability
Although many protests were peaceful, they were met by strong use of force by the police force. Many people questioned the police because the actions of the police chief kneeling with young demonstrators did not match the way police officers reacted as they attempted to disperse crowds. According to protestors in Santa Rosa, police shifted to violent control tactics without regard for the safety and constitutional rights of protestors, and many suffered injuries due to illegal force.
In response to the local police over use of force on BLM activists, on July 10, a forty-page report was released on behalf of the Sonoma County Commission on Human Rights bringing attention to not only the excessive force used by police during the George Floyd protests, but also decades long history of white supremacy and racism in Sonoma County from law enforcement agencies. In the report, the commission included demands from protestors that encompassed a review of SRPD and their response toward protestors, ending the use of tear gas, rubber bullets, grenades and other projectiles on protestors, as well as discipling police officers. In efforts to bring change to Sonoma County, elected officials have created a new public safety committee in Santa Rosa, as well as the Sheriff’s Office has now banned the carotid restraint.

Methods of Data Collection: Interviews
Our group decided to conduct interviews as a qualitative method of data collection. Usually, interviews are used in order to collect in-depth responses from the individuals being interviewed. Interviews can be structured (formal), semi-structured or unstructured (informal). In essence, an interview method of data collection can be conducted through face-to-face meeting with the interviewee(s) or through telephone, or email.
For our data collection, we decided to do interviews with specific officials of various institutions through the Zoom webcam application. For each section, two to three research group members were assigned to interview different people and record their answers to include in our study. Each interviewee was asked a set of questions that we collectively agreed were the most relevant to ask in reference to the Black Lives Matter movement. Before we began each interview, we had a set introduction that explained the concept of our research and also asked for their consent to have their answers included. The interview guide is structured as follows:
Interview Guide:
Hi, and thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us today. We are Sociology students at Sonoma State working with Professor Peter Phillips to find out how the Black Lives Matter movement has affected institutional responses in Sonoma County. Interviewee names will be held strictly confidential. This interview will take approximately 10 minutes. We will also be recording your responses.
DO YOU AGREE TO GO FORWARD WITH THIS INTERVIEW?
Do you feel that the Black Lives Matter movement is relevant to your institution?
What public or private statements, actions or steps both formal and informal has your instruction taken in response to the BLM Movement in Sonoma County?
Do you believe that there were any issues with racial equality within your institution prior to the Black Lives Matter movement? Why or why not?
How do you think the Black lives matter movement changed your work environment?
Are your employees allowed to show their support of BLM in the workplace?
How does your institution allow for you to plan to assist an individual who is facing discrimination?
What do you believe institutions must do in support of Black Lives Matter?
What actions have you personally taken on the Black Lives Matter movement in Sonoma County?

After finishing our interviews, we would rate each category of institutions with their level of responses. Based on the actions that the institution made, we decided whether they made an effort to show support for the movement or not. This helps to analyze whether certain institutions were more likely to be involved with social movements and which ones were not as likely. These were the levels of responses that we used:



Levels of Responses:
No response or statement
Statement only
Statement and employee training
Statement, training, and institutional change

Educational Institutions:

BLM is a movement that everyone should stand behind. Now is the time to protest for what is right and just. When it comes to educational institutions, we would hope for our students in Sonoma County to feel safe, and that they can reach out to their professors and have their campus feel like a safe haven. A wide variety of staff members and positions from the Sonoma County board of Education who were interviewed to record their perspectives, and from an institutional perspective on the subject matter of BLM. There are lots of things that could have been asked to these members of the Sonoma County Office of Education, but we have narrowed it down to about 8 questions. With these questions, we were still able to record a wide range of answers.

The question that we all wanted to know first and foremost is if these educational institutions believe that the BLM movement is relevant to their institution. Did they feel as if BLM is relevant to their institution? All of four respondents have replied alike. They have said yes or even absolutely. Some have gone more further into detail about why they believe BLM is relevant to their institution. One employee of the Sonoma County Education system stated that, “We are responsible to build up a positive culture to have every culture feel safe”.
One employee at Sonoma State University has even stated, “It allows people to come together and it allows us to discuss this in a civil form”.
It is always great to hear that the Sonoma County Education system is on the same page and agrees that BLM is relevant to their institution. This question is great to start off an interview with as a way to gather a base level of information. Now that we know that they have all agreed in saying that BLM is a relevant movement to their institution, we would like to know if their institution has taken any steps or actions as a response to the BLM movement.

For our second question, we wanted to know what are some actions that have taken place as a response to BLM. There were a lot of different answers as they all have taken different approaches to the matter.
One of the responses that we have received was that for a school in Sonoma County, they have started to advocate starting their own school forums in order to let students voice their opinions on social matters. They want their students to have a source of support to let out their emotions and concerns if they are facing an issue in their lives regardless of what it may be. One other respondent stated that they have not placed any specific actions down as a response to BLM. They have also stated that it does not necessarily mean that they are not in support of BLM. This person instead is a co-coordinator of the Equity Collaboration for their team, so they independently take actions on their own time.
An employee of SSU reassured us that they and their teams have constant and open communication with their students and staff. They want their students to feel safe on campus. The same SSU staff member has stated that staff and students have even organized marches in support of BLM.
One member of the Santa Rosa City Schools has mentioned that the Santa Rosa City Schools Board of Education and their superintendent have released a letter to the community stating that they are in support of BLM. And as of June 2020, they have been in the process of implementing an Ethnic Studies curriculum.

Our third question goes into depth into asking our interviewees if they believe that there were any issues with racial inequality within their institution. To our surprise, there has been past racial inequality within their institutions. Since these interviewees all work in education, it is not shocking to them when they witness bullying or inequality of any kind. It can be something as students facing discrimination from other students or even staff members, to having an array of non-diverse members on their staff. Though they have since then made an effort to better their institution in being more inclusive, they have still faced racial inequality long before BLM.

The fourth question asks if BLM has changed anything in their work environment. One member of the Sonoma County Education System has stated that their work environment is now more action focused than ever before. One thing that is agreeable across all respondents is that they have stated that there is a lot more communication among staff members and students. In other words, people have more of a voice than they ever had while being in their respectful institutions.

The fifth question that we asked in our interviews with each interviewee was “are your employees allowed to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement in the workplace?” All four of the interviewees had similar answers in which they stated that their institutions did allow for them to wear anything related to the Black Lives Matter movement. Each of them had different stories to coincide with their answers but we appreciated one from a faculty member at Sonoma State University. He went into detail of how he was proud to represent the BLM movement at his job and even encouraged others to show their support by handing out BLM wristbands to everyone. We appreciated the fact that the main university in Sonoma County responded well enough to encourage the representation of the movement. He brought up an especially important matter in which he explained to us how people should remember that “you don’t have to look like them to look after them.” We believed that this was a very relevant phrase considering the division among communities that we deal with in America today.

The sixth question that we asked our interviewees was “how does your institution plan for you to assist an individual who is facing discrimination?” Each of our interviewees all replied with a similar answer in which they stated that all of their institutions had offices and policies to help with the prevention of bullying and discrimination. Two interviewees who were employees at the Sonoma County Office of Education stated that their institution has an anonymous reporting system for issues of harassment among students. One of them went into depth about how important this is when dealing with young kids as they will grow into adults with these biases or without. Another interviewee stated that for the most part, if the discrimination is in need for legal support, then they do provide the student with those resources.

The seventh question that we asked our interviewees was “what do you believe institutions must do in support of the Black Lives Matter movement?” All of our interviewees stated that each of their institutions must let their students be heard and to be open to changes that must be done.
One of our interviewees was an employee at the Sonoma County Office of Education and she stated that we must “look at the ways in which Black Lives Matter asks us to challenge the system, rethink the system, rebuild and redream.” We felt that was highly important when being such a prominent institution in the field of education.
Another important point that she brought up was that institutions must be open to do the actual work involved in supporting the movement rather than just the performative aspects. This was also relevant considering that all of the institutions that we interviewed had stated that they had sent out statements regarding the movement, as well as made institutional change. Many of them created forums to allow for student concerns to be heard and to be addressed. This allowed for diversity issues to be addressed as well considering that in previous years, much of the faculty in these institutions were predominantly Caucasian.

The last question that we asked our interviewees was “what actions have you personally taken on the Black Lives Matter movement in Sonoma County?” Interestingly enough, most all of our interviewees have been a part of the support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Each of them explained to us the ways that they have decided to show their individual support of the movement. Two of our interviewees were mothers and stated that they teach their children about the injustices against Black people. They also said how they are continuously teaching them how to be race-conscious children by using children’s books. Other interviewees stated that they showed their support by creating signs and being involved in local protests across Sonoma County.



Healthcare Institutions:

Healthcare institutions have a history of violence and exploitation of Black people. Medical racism is something that Black people have endured by some healthcare institutions. They have dealt with sterilization, unethical experiments, and abuse by this institution in the past. The Tuskegee experiments and the way African American people are disproportionately affected by health issues, are just a few examples (Frakt, NY TIMES 2020). Therefore, their response to the killings of Black people by police would be helpful to our research. The Black community in Sonoma County should feel comfortable and supported by the healthcare institutions that they attend. Their lives have to be acknowledged by this institution, as well as every other one. This institution holds a lot of power over life and their support would be very helpful to the movement. The responses of this institution in regard to the Black Lives Matter movement are crucial.
A majority of the healthcare locations that we contacted, would not reach back out to us. We left voicemails and emails, trying to come in contact with some places but we never heard back from them. We contacted the PR teams for Saint Joseph’s hospital, Kaiser Permanente, Memorial Hospital, Sutter Hospital, and Santa Rosa Community Health (SRCH). We emailed the PR teams for Saint Joseph’s hospital and Kaiser. And left voicemails for Memorial, Sutter, and SRCH. Getting a response from this institution would have helped us understand how they were handling this important issue, yet we received no response.
Business Institutions:
Business Institutions have often been unfair to the black Americans. This unfairness dates back to the times of segregation and how much they have been exploited to further others' wealth. The institutional racism that comes in the business world is no surprise but as more events of unfair treatment of black Americans keep happening. Murders like Travon Martin, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd are widely known. These events trigger responses from minorities on how they are not taking that treatment anymore and will stand up, protest and fight for equal treatment. We saw protests here in our own county in Santa Rosa and how many people began to support the movement. Small local businesses people were openly proud of being a mom and pop black owned business or just other small business owners supporting the movement as well.
At first when looking for people to interview we were only concentrating on small black owned businesses which is a great place to get an interview but a small demographic, many did not get back to me or respond to my emails which we understand people are busy so we began to think we can also look at bigger chain businesses and ask them how they’re company has accommodated to the uproar in the media and how it has changed their workplace. So finally, we managed to get two interviews, one at Starbucks and one at Cattlemen’s and was trying to see if these events have changed anything in their work life or have, they showed support and the interviews went a little like this.
Our first question asks “Do you feel that the Black Lives Matter movement is relevant to your institution? Both businesses agreed that the movement is definitely part of their institution and is recognized.
For our second question we asked, “What public or private statements, actions or steps both formal and informal has your instruction taken in response to the BLM Movement in Sonoma County?” Both businesses had something to say it seemed that Starbucks had a bigger shift as they made their uniform supporting the BLM movement along with putting out shirts that you could get at stores to promote the issue and showed their support while Cattlemen’s had more of a meeting between employees discussing the issues going on in the city.
For our third question we asked “Do you believe that there were any issues with racial equality within your institution prior to the Black Lives Matter movement? Why or why not?” They both had different answers. Cattlemen said they did not feel there were any issues within their institution, but Starbucks did mention there were some issues at the beginning of the protests where people were not allowed to show their support on the issue at work as it was a touchy subject.
For our fourth question we asked How do you think the Black lives matter movement changed your work environment? Both institutions mentioned that they had more of a support for the movement then previous to the protest and Starbucks did receive backlash for not originally allowing employees to show support to the protesting and movement but after the uproar they eventually switched their opinion and that is when they made the shirts to show support.
For our fifth question we asked, “Are your employees allowed to show their support of BLM in the workplace?” Both institutions answered yes to this question.
For our sixth question we asked, “How does your institution allow you to plan to assist an individual who is facing discrimination?” Both institutions gave insight that they were only able to ask people to leave or call a security of sorts if people were discriminated against other customers as far as people within the workplace people can be fired for discrimination.
For our seventh question we asked them “what do you believe institutions must do in support of the Black Lives Matter movement?” Both businesses agreed to show support within institutions; there must be public support along with rules and regulations in place to help make everyone feel welcomed and with the business institution being so competitive there can also be some incentives for more family owned businesses to start up.
The final question we asked was “what actions have you personally taken on the Black Lives Matter movement in Sonoma County?” Both had different answers as the employee for Cattlemen’s said she used her social media platform to raise more awareness of the issue while the Starbucks employee talked about how they would go to the protests and show their support at work with clothes advocating the issue.

Religious Institutions:
With many institutions supporting the BLM Movement, we hope that churches in Sonoma County will stand with the Black community to ensure that those with religious beliefs have a safe place where they can express their feelings without being judged. We interviewed Father Moses Brown from Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa and Pastor Daniel Huskey from The Parish Church. They each gave their perspective about the Black Lives Matter Movement, how their church has responded to the ongoing issues in the Black community, and what actions they have taken from it.
During the BLM protests, The Catholic Diocese Church didn’t make a public statement about BLM specifically or take any action from the movement. But they have expressed their support for the BLM Movement and spoken on the racism that continues to happen in our country. Father Moses Brown believes in order to see growth, people need to be open to change and acknowledge that racism is an issue. After the death of George Floyd, The Parish Church made a statement in a blog, to publicly mourn with the African American community and learn how to process this grief. Pastor Daniel Huskey believes there is ignorance and systematic racism within our society. That we need to educate ourselves and listen to the stories and experiences of African Americans for change to happen. He has personally taken action and showed support by serving on the board of Chain of Hope. Which is an event that occurs monthly to bring awareness of the injustice towards the Black community and that they don’t tolerate systematic racism.
With both churches they recognized that racism has negatively impacted society and believe that we as a community need to do better by making sure we have these “uncomfortable” conversations and educate ourselves about the issues Black people face every day. The Black community needs us to come together and help fight against racial injustices in America.
Local Political Institutions:
The local government responses and the responses from the federal government are similar and different in many ways, both have provided the community with responses to the Black Lives Matter movement that has gained traction with the public after 2020. Here in Sonoma county the local government (County and City) has had several levels of response to the institutional racism, law enforcement brutality, and injustices against Black and people of color in this country. The most noticeable changes would be the election and access to platforms that have been given to the Black and communities of color in the area, for the local political responses interviews were conducted with the newly elected officials of color in Sonoma county to get their responses and responses from their institution to the BLM movement.

Jackie Elward’s Vice Mayor of Rohnert Park

● What actions have you personally taken on the Black Lives Matter movement in Sonoma
County?

*As a black woman it is very important for my children to understand the movement. It is important for them to be able to speak up for themselves. I am raising a black young man, and I want him to be aware of the way our police system has been killing black men.

● Do you feel that the Black Lives Matter movement is relevant to your institution?
(Lilyana)

*Yes Lilyana, I strongly believe that the BLM movement is relevant for any of my institutions and anything I do.

● What public or private statements, actions or steps both formal and informal has your
instruction taken in response to the BLM Movement in Sonoma County? (Anferny)

*I was able to start a BLM march in my town and it was very successful. I also remember that that was the first day I met you.

● Do you believe that there were any issues with racial equality within your institution prior
to the Black Lives Matter movement? Why or why not? (Lilyana)

*Lilyana, the problem with any racial inequity has always been there and this is a sad reality.

● Did you think your institution had racial issues before the Black Lives Matter
movement? If not, did it help bring light to these issues? (Luis)

*Hi Luis, yes, it is unfortunate to say this in 2021. My town didn’t have representation and a lot of people of color have been targeted because of it.

● How do you think the Black lives matter movement changed your work
environment? (Luis)

*I have the best work environment to be honest.

● Are your employees allowed to show their support of BLM in the workplace?

*I do not have employees, but I encourage everyone to be open to the conversation.

● Will this institution continue to show support for the BLM movement even if there is not
much media coverage on it? (Gabriela)
* Yes, as a black woman, and a mother of three amazing black kids I will always continue to show support for the BLM movement even if there is not much media coverage on it. The movement has brought out a side of our law enforcement that many of us never had the courage to bring out.

● Do you support or believe in defunding the police department? If not, what alternatives do
What do you think should happen? (Bertha) Should local government funds be used to address
discrimination.

*For me, when talking about defunding the police, I understand that some funds should and must go to mental illness professionals to go out to nonviolent calls. I believe that a lot of the time when our law enforcement goes out, they don’t have proper training when it comes to the way they deal with people living with that sickness.

● What do you believe other institutions must do in support of Black Lives Matter?
(Bertha)

*Bertha, I believe that other institutions must be real allies in support of the BLM
-They need to openly speak about the subject behind the movement.

● In what ways can your institution provide support for the Black Lives Matter
movement? (Tiziana)

*I will continue to show up to protest as much I can.
I will make sure to encourage people to vote.
I will make sure to continue to educate people and myself.
I will continue showing my support to the BLM and much more

● Did your institution show public support for the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020?

*I did show support for the BLM movement in 2020 and will continue to do so.

● Prior to summer 2020, did your institution show support for race issues?

*As an activist, I will always encourage and show support for race issues because it is valuable.

● What impact has the BLM social activist had on your institution within the past year?
(Anferny)

*I would say that more people are coming out and speaking. I understand that the process might take long, but we shouldn’t give up.

● What public or private statements, actions or steps both formal and informal has your
institution taken in response to the BLM Movement in Sonoma County? (Anferny)

*I always say, ‘‘be the change you wish to say in the world”.

Skylar Palacios Council Member Healdsburg
● What actions have you personally taken on the Black Lives Matter movement in Sonoma County?
● I wrote a draft bill that I sent to a few state representatives at the height of the movement. I ran for city council and spoke at a BLM rally.
● Do you feel that the Black Lives Matter movement is relevant to your institution? (Lilyana)
● it's relevant to everything, everywhere.
● What public or private statements, actions or steps both formal and informal has your instruction taken in response to the BLM Movement in Sonoma County? (Anferny)
● I keep pushing for the creation of a social and economic equity commission, as of now, we are planning town Halls to discuss these topics, and I will continue to push for a group to review inequitable policies we have in our local government.
● Do you believe that there were any issues with racial equality within your institution prior to the Black Lives Matter movement? Why or why not? (Lilyana)
● Absolutely, it is prevalent in the divide between our white and Latino/BIPOC communities.
● How do you think the Black Lives Matter movement changed your work environment? (Luis)
● It is on people's minds, equity and justice, but people are not pushing themselves to figure out solutions because there is still a lack of depth in understanding the issue.
● Are your employees allowed to show their support of BLM in the workplace?
● Yes
● How Does your institution allow for you plan to on assisting an individual who is facing discrimination? (Gabriela)
● We just passed a resolution upon my request in response to recent episodes of discrimination. In our community.
● Do you support or believe in defunding the police department? If not, what alternatives do you think should happen? (Bertha) Should local government funds be used to address discrimination.
● Absolutely, in Healdsburg, we are already hiring for a social equity officer in our PD. Local government NEEDS to invest in researching and acting on existing exclusionary policy.
● What do you believe other institutions must do in support of Black Lives Matter? (Bertha)
● Acknowledge that our economic system is possible due to the enslavement of Black and indigenous people, most of which have seen no benefit, only continued racial injustice, and vow to uplift the BIPOC community socially, and economically.
● In what ways have your institution provided support for the Black Lives Matter movement? (Tiziana) same response as above.
● Did your institution show public support for the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020? A few members came to a rally at the time, though our Mayor told people not to protest and shortly after stepped down from HR position.
● Prior to summer 2020, did your institution show support for race issues? No
● What impact has the BLM social activist had on your institution within the past year? (Anferny) Disruption of thought, which is critical to changing attitudes.

Willy Linares Rohnert Park Council Member
● What actions have you personally taken on the Black Lives Matter movement in Sonoma County?
I ran for City Council because I was motivated by the BLM movement and the conversation on race being had by our country.

● Do you feel that the Black Lives Matter movement is relevant to your institution? (Lilyana)
We need to have real conversations about the experiences of ALL of our residents. We cannot pretend we all have the same experiences. These topics need to be addressed regardless of how uncomfortable they may be for some.

● What public or private statements, actions or steps both formal and informal has your instruction taken in response to the BLM Movement in Sonoma County? (Anferny)
The city took several steps during the initial movement like holding listening sessions, signing my brother’s keeper oath. We continue to make progress by making racial, social and environmental issues a focus.

● Do you believe that there were any issues with racial equality within your institution prior to the Black Lives Matter movement? Why or why not? (Lilyana)
I think there are issues in all institutions.

● Did you think your institution had racial issues before the Black Lives Matter movement??(Luis)
Yes

● How do you think the Black lives matter movement changed your work environment? (Luis)
Yes
● Are your employees allowed to show their support of BLM in the workplace?
I am not an employer, but I think employees and residents should be able to express their support.

● Does your institution allow for you to assist an individual who is facing discrimination? (Gabriela)
Yes

● Do you support defunding the police department? Should local government funds be used to address discrimination.
I believe in using funds to support programs like CAHOOTS in order to make changes in how public safety approaches certain calls. I also think funds should be used to train people to do their job without discriminating against people of color.

● Did your institution show public support for the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020?
I believe some steps were taken.
● Prior to summer 2020, did your institution shown support= for race issues
Not sure
● What impact has the BLM social activist had on your institution within the past year? (Anferny)
I believe the current City Council election of 2020 was largely impacted by the BLM movement.

Jane Doe- Major/Doctor in a special operations unit in the U.S. Navy

-Disclaimer: These answers are from a US military member who wishes to remain anonymous. These answers do not represent the opinion of the US military in any way. The US military member who answers these questions is from Sebastopol CA and who has spent 11 years in the special operations community.
As a member of a special operation unit for the last 11 years and just recently receiving her doctorate, she has been a strong advocate and model for the US military. She spent most of her young life in Sebastopol and moved to San Diego when she enlisted. She is now married to one of my best friends and is such a powerful and motivating human being.
I reached out to her because I (Will Petersen) was unable to make contact with any police departments in Sonoma County. I’m sure if we ran a stop sign, they would show up, but God forbid an interview about one of the most prominent civil rights movements of our generation. we understand to some degree that they (law enforcement) would be hesitant to answer questions. Unfortunately, we live in a society where people are now guilty until proven innocent and that someone's words/opinions from today or yesterday or from 20, 30, even 60 years ago, can still haunt them and ruin their career.
For the first question,” Do you feel that the Black Lives Matter movement is relevant to your institution? She insisted that there is no black or white division within the military in her experience. She was adamant that people of the nature of not loving or embracing everyone are quickly outed. Many service men and women are people of color.
For the second question, “What public or private statements, actions or steps both formal and informal has your instruction taken in response to the BLM Movement in Sonoma County?” She was unable to answer that question due to security reasons but mentioned that the military, especially in the special operations units, are always educating themselves in the relevant topics of America and the World.
The third question, “Do you believe that there were any issues with racial equality within your institution prior to the Black Lives Matter movement? Why or why not?” She firmly said no, everyone is equally loved or hated solely based on their performance and attitude.
In regard to the fourth question pertaining to the movement changing the workplace environment, she stated that the issue is prevalent and regularly talked about. Bringing up issues and finding common ground is an extremely important place to find when being in a military unit. However, she also said that she has to be cautious as a high-ranking member, she has to be extremely careful when speaking to her fellow soldiers and coworkers, so things don't get misinterpreted.
She stated that no members of the military are able to display or represent the opinions on such matters including their choice of political parties. They are barred from marching or demonstrating for any political movement.
She said that there are multiple ways to assist someone facing discrimination and that they conduct monthly briefings and yearly training on it.
For the question of defunding the police she was stern on the fact that the problem is the federal oversight and the individual policies that states have on the departments. She said that more money should be put into the police force for training and that ⅓ of a police officer's work week should be spent on training and de-escalating a violent situation. She stated that making the workplace environment transparent will help with discrimination and decrease the feeling of marginalization.
She stated that her institution cannot provide details on what they are doing to provide support for the BLM matter movement. She also mentioned, like she said before, military personnel cannot show public support for movements of any kind.
In regard to the summer prior to 2020, the US military took and continues to take racial issues extremely seriously.

She admitted that some personnel can get carried away through social media and other forms of propaganda and that since the movement started, there has been an increase in GMT’s or general military training that incorporates self-control that are based on racial problems and their solutions.

Results of Data Collection:
After analyzing all of our data of each institution that we interviewed, we found that some of them were more supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement than others were. What we have concluded is that there is a majority of support for the BLM movement. From religious institutions, to schools, businesses, healthcare and the political arena the many people at the county level have put forth drafts of bills, spoke at, attended, marched or been involved in some fashion with the BLM movement. Many have stated that things will take time and that efforts must be sustained at a high level to maintain the national attention and spotlight. From the data collected from the interviews, it seems rather clear that the changing of the guard at the Presidential level will help with many lower level involvements. It seems to us that things that affect a majority of the population in regard to police action and reform must come from the federal level. With so many new leaders in Washington, we believe that they are there for positive change and a structural reform within our police departments.
Something we would like to point out is that is the percentage of voters that came out to vote in the 2020 elections that will definitely impact the progress and success of the BLM movement. 13 percent of the black population voted, which is a huge increase from the 2016 election. 87 percent of those black voters voted for Biden. We firmly believe that these votes coincide with his political policies and agenda as well as his moral direction in taking the American people. The African American community as well as all people, deserve a leader with strong moral values and who represents each one of us with respect and love.
Levels of Responses:
No response or statement
Statement only
Statement and employee training
Statement, training, and institutional change
Overall Ratings of Institutional Responses in Sonoma County:
Education: Level Four
We give the educational institutions in Sonoma County an overall rating of a level “four.” Level four means that an institution has made a public statement, included employee training, and made institutional change. We believe that the educational institutions have actually made an effort in showing and instituting support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Healthcare: Level One
We give the healthcare institutions a level “1”. Level one means that the institutions have made no response nor statement. We believe that healthcare institutions in Sonoma County have lacked demonstrating their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Businesses: Level Two
We gave the Business institution a two because one of the institutions did make a public statement and change their initial view on the topic while the other did not make a public statement along with only having two samples.
Religion: Level Two
We give the religious institutions a level “2”. Level Two means statement only. We believe that though some religious institutions have made an effort in making public statements about BLM within their communities, there are still many religious institutions that need to speak up and have these conversations.
Political Offices: Level Four
I would say that based on our responses from the interviews, the Political arena in Sonoma County has taken major steps forward in increasing awareness of social and racial injustices. With focusing on the progression of the BLM movement. I would rate the political institutions a “4”. Willy ran for city council and was motivated by the BLM movement. Skylar of Healdsburg drafted a bill and spoke at a BLM rally. Jackie of Rohnert Park started a march in her own town. I feel like these contributions to the movement warrant a level “4” rating.

Conclusion:
In conclusion with the responses given we have found that the institutional response varied from institution to institution and that there were levels of the responses from leadership, organizations and leadership here in Sonoma County. The political aspect of this report found that the response from higher up elected officials such as the Board of Supervisors or State Representatives has been far insufficient for the Black community to accept. The local government and activists along with the community at large have been able to pass measures P and O that will have an impact on the BIPOC and law enforcement communities of Sonoma county. Measure P is a period of unparalleled civilian oversight over the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office by expanding the funding and authority of the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach. Measure O is ensuring a steady and reliable source of funding to address mental health and homelessness that will expand needed services for our citizens for the next 10 years. We have also elected over six BIPOC local government leaders that have inspired and adopted the Black Lives Matter movements foundation for equality and justice.
From the education perspective, we can confidently say that members of Santa Rosa Board of Education, Sonoma County Educational system, and Sonoma State University agree that there is an ongoing issue against members of the Black community. They have all agreed in saying that BLM is an important movement that the educational institutions are standing behind. Other than emotional support, there are also many different actions and goals they are going to keep striving for in order to better the student’s lives. They have made positive change in their institution and made efforts to better support their students of color population. We believe that this is extremely significant as these children will already deal with the prejudices in the world as they grow older, so it would feel more comforting and safer if they saw their schools show support for a cause such as this.
For the healthcare aspect of the conclusion, we found that they did not really bother to show support for the Black Lives Matter considering that they never reached out to us after multiple attempts. We truly gave the various institutions a chance to display any sense of support for the movement, but they did not reply to us at all. We hoped to get an insight of how healthcare institutions were dealing with the issues that BLM brought to light but unfortunately, we did not get the chance.
Business institutions seemed to be very honest about the issues that occurred before the Black Lives Matter movement came full force. Companies that were interviewed such as Starbucks gave us some insight on racial issues that happened before the movement and explained how they fixed them in order to make all of their employees feel safe. They also have done employee training to make sure that all employees are aware of racial bias and ensure that all customers feel safe and never feel discriminated against.
As for religious institutions, all leaders of the churches were aware of the systematic racism that occurs and believes that we should fight against it. They did not make any formal statements but under their religion, they do believe that all people should be treated equally no matter their skin color or complexion. We believe that this is extremely important as religious organizations hold a strong role in society and how society treats other people. Overall, we believe that the Black Lives Matter movement is a movement that should be taken seriously as we are all equal no matter who we are, or we come from. Black people deserve the same amount of respect in our country and should not live in fear for their life every day.
In regard to the political climate of Sonoma County pertaining to the BLM movement, there has been a lot of progress made. With more and more people becoming aware of the disportionate killings of African Americans, there are more voices that are helping to raise awareness of these social and racial injustices. However, I truly feel that police officers are being called out, but they are not necessarily handling it the right way. The ignorance in the form of Blue Lives Matter or All lives Matter which are responses or reactions to the BLM movement, should soon be denounced. They are servants of the public and taking an oath to serve and protect and uphold the constitution. From the interviews I do get a strong sense that the police department needs to become a more transparent workplace. Prioritizing training and maybe include more options for less lethal uses of force.

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