Project’s Goal: Non-Threatening Community Dialogue on Race

Photo courtesy California African American Museum
A New York Film Academy instructor and the Burbank Human Relations Council in November will hold Race Relay, an event intended to share the experiences that local community members have had with racism. An earlier iteration of the event, pictured here, was held about two years ago by USC and the California African American Museum.

When Andrew Williams’ mother moved to Burbank, he said, the first thing her neighbors told her was that they “didn’t want any trouble.” They said Black people such as herself hadn’t been allowed to live there until some time ago, he added.
Still, Williams said in a recent interview, his mother’s choice to live in what Burbank officials recognized last year as a former “sundown town” — communities that had policies excluding non-white ethnic groups — was one of survival. She was tired of living in cities where violence was more common, Williams explained, and wanted a better environment for her children. Continue reading “Project’s Goal: Non-Threatening Community Dialogue on Race”

Salas Making a Difference, Earns ‘Heart and Excellence’ Award

Photo by David Laurell
Gloria Salas, who will receive the Glendale YWCA’s Community Service Award at the organizations 24th annual Heart and Excellence Awards on April 14, is pictured with her husband, former Burbank City Councilman Tim Murphy.

When Gloria Salas recently began receiving congratulatory emails, texts and phone messages, she was confused. That was until she found out that her husband, former Burbank City Councilman Tim Murphy, had learned she was to be the recipient of the Community Service Award at the Glendale YWCA’s 24th annual Heart and Excellence Awards.
“I couldn’t figure out what I was being congratulated for until I realized that Tim knew and told everyone,” laughed Salas. “It was nice to hear from so many people, and I really am honored, but I’m not one of those people who likes to be out in front taking the bow. I feel more comfortable being behind whatever team I’m working with just to get things done.”
A native Angeleno who has worked in the legal field since her senior year of high school, Salas’ passion has always been advocating for women’s rights and causes. She has been a longtime member of the Zonta Club of the Burbank and has served as the chapter’s president and advocacy chair of Zonta District 9, which covers five western states. In that role she has dealt with issues such as human trafficking and domestic violence, and went to Sacramento and Washington, D.C., to lobby on various pieces of legislation affecting women and girls.

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City Officials Hold First Equity Subcommittee Meeting

A Burbank City Council subcommittee on racial equity and diversity had its first meeting last week, with members discussing potentially providing training to city employees.
The subcommittee, which met virtually on Feb. 24, was formed late last year following renewed outcry for racial justice and equity. The group, which includes Mayor Bob Frutos, Councilwoman Sharon Springer, Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse, Assistant City Manager Judie Wilke and other municipal staff, will meet “as needed” to discuss potential initiatives for promoting equity and diversity.
Frutos emphasized that the early meetings of the subcommittee would be “flexible and fluid,” allowing the members to develop ideas to present to the full City Council.
“We are committed as a city and as a council to discuss the tough painful issues to make sure our city is working toward [being] inclusive of everybody,” he said.
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City Resolution Apologizes for Past Discrimination

The City Council voted this week to approve a resolution apologizing for racist “sundown town” policies in Burbank’s history and pledging to pursue local, state and federal measures that promote equity.
A sundown town is defined as a city whose practices discriminate against non-white ethnic groups, particularly Black people, such as by requiring them to exit city boundaries by sundown.
The resolution itself contained no concrete policies aimed at combating racism, and there was little discussion from the council on the item during its Tuesday meeting, but city officials have hailed it as a critical first step that could later lead to action.
“It’s OK to go wrong, but it’s not OK to stay wrong,” said Councilman Jess Talamantes. “And this is one thing that we can change, this council and future councils can definitely change, moving forward.”

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BHRC Gathers Art for Exhibition Denouncing Hate

Photo courtesy Burbank Human Relations Council
The Burbank Human Relations Council will hold an exhibition of posters online. The pieces will also be viewable at the Geo Gallery from Monday, Nov. 30, to Friday, Dec. 11.

The Burbank Human Relations Council is asking community members to drop off poster board art to be displayed at an upcoming exhibition as part of “United Against Hate” week.
Anyone in Burbank can submit an art piece, which must be made on standard poster board that is no larger than 28 inches by 20 inches. Pieces are being accepted today, Nov. 28, between 9 a.m. and noon at the Geo Gallery at 1545 Victory Blvd. Contributors can schedule other drop-offs by texting or calling (818) 860-2472.
The BHRC will then display the pieces, representing the theme “Stand Together Against Hate,” from Monday, Nov. 30-Friday, Dec. 11 at Geo. Only two viewers will be allowed at a time because of restrictions related to COVID-19, but the pieces will also be viewable on the BHRC website and Facebook page.

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City Signals Support for Condemning Past Racism

Mayor Sharon Springer holds a proclamation, issued Tuesday, it denouncing all forms of prejudice and committing Burbank to the pursuit of equality and diversity.

After issuing a proclamation denouncing prejudice, the Burbank City Council indicated its support for a nonprofit organization’s recommendation that the panel formally acknowledge and apologize for racist aspects of the city’s history.
Early in the council’s Tuesday meeting, Mayor Sharon Springer presented a proclamation condemning “all forms of prejudices” and embracing “inclusivity, equality and diversity.” The decree also affirmed Burbank’s commitment to promoting equity and diversity in city programs and services, though it did not announce any new initiatives.
But what could be new, if council members approve, is a formal recognition and apology from Burbank for its previous “sundown town” policies that discouraged people of color, particularly African-Americans, from living in the city.

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