Equity Training & Critical Race Theory – Open Letter to Solano County Board of Supervisors

Brandon Greene: Solano Board discussion ‘disappointing but not surprising’

June 25, 2021

Erin Hannigan, Supervisor District 1
Monica Brown, Vice-Chair, Supervisor District 2
Jim Spering, Supervisor District 3
John Vasquez, Chair, Supervisor District 4
Mitch Mashburn, Supervisor District 5

Greetings all,

Brandon Greene, at Benicia Juneteenth Celebration, June 19, 2021

It was disappointing but not surprising to watch the Board of Supervisors’ June 22 discussion of DEI training [Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Training], something that seemingly should be such an easy lift.

It’s astonishing that elected officials can have so little knowledge of this topic even as the country is facing a reckoning.

Ludicrous comments were made about critical race theory, something the vast majority of its detractors do not understand (hint: critical race theory is not taught in elementary, middle, or high school. Nor is it taught in college.  My former professor explains here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87hQ2Gpa390).  A comment like, “I don’t want one person’s perspective on history,” is so counter factual to how history is taught and understood that it is astonishing to actually hear it vocalized.

Elected officials did not respond at all to misinformed comments about Marxism and other terms, and allowed callers to declare that grappling with equity is anti-Western in perspective and that all white people are racist —  unconscionable.

It is so distressing to watch people elected to represent the entire county be so comfortable in their lack of knowledge, so secure in their biases and so intractable in their perspective.

“I was born this color,” said John Vasquez, the only supervisor of color.  He said he had been “trained every God-damned day,” but would not allow the color of his skin to define his life.  “I resent someone telling me who I am,” he said.

This is a demonstration that merely being a person of color does not insulate the need for training nor does it automatically equip someone with the knowledge or expertise to lead on equity. It also highlights at best a surface level understanding of how systemic racism and inequity works and at worst, indifference.

This is particularly disturbing given that Supervisor Vasquez co-chairs the equity committee.

It’s embarrassing to see this on display, and exhausting to think about just how far behind this County and its elected officials are.

Nonetheless, we stand on the shoulders of giants and so we will continue to push and move this county forward.

Brandon Greene