Being inundated by consistent implicit racism and low-intensity racist microagressions in this community has been hard enough, but now it is becoming worse to witness it further devolve into overt anti-Black sentiments. The recent incidents of the vandalism of the Black Lives Matter mural in Oakwood and now this incident of the racist tweet coming from the VNC Twitter account, have left me even more concerned about the impacts of these actions on our community and the urgent need for meaningful accountability.

VNC Tweet
click to enlarge

The racist VNC Tweet occured yesterday, April 13th around 5pm. The VNC’s Twitter account, managed by the Outreach subcommittee retweeted a highly offensive and racist tweet about Michelle Obama. The tweet was quickly removed around 8pm, but the subcommittee’s initial explanation—that their account had simply been hacked. While I dont think that most of them would never post such things, (except for its Westside Current contributors who frequently post racially charged content) the excuse comes off half-ass and insincere.

As a board member, I believe it’s crucial to demand transparency and accountability from those involved in managing the account as well EmpowerLA who manages the LA City Neighborhood councils, and to ensure that this situation is thoroughly investigated. As of now it just feels like they are trying to sweep it under the rug, in similar fashion to how our councilperson Traci Park is trying to do with the anti-Black vandalism of Oakwood’s BLM mural.

As you recently have heard, the Black Lives Matter street mural in Oakwood, an historically redlined Black and Brown community in Venice, was defaced with hate speech. This reprehensible act not only disrespects the values of transformative justice and equity that the mural represents, but it also serves as a painful reminder of the ongoing struggle against racial injustice in our community, whether covert or overt.

Regardless of the outcome of any investigation into the perpetrators of these acts, these two incidents targeting our Black siblings and symbols are a testament to the persistence of anti-Black energies in Venice. As someone who is deeply invested in the well-being and evolution of this community, I’m extremely upset by these actions.

But I am more angered by the culture of gaslighting and the normalization of disregard for harm that’s levied at our Black and Brown communities. It is essential that we as a community confront this issue head-on and take proactive steps to create a conscious environment where all forms of racism, whether innocent or malicious, knows it is unwelcomed. The recent incidents involving the VNC tweet and the BLM mural vandalism serve as stark reminders of the work that still needs to be done to combat racism in Venice. 

Here are some minimal ways you can take helpful action:

    1. Support efforts to demand transparency and accountability from the VNC regarding the Twitter incident, including backing a thorough investigation into the matter. email them at : [email protected]
      and [email protected] 

    2. Encourage our councilperson Traci Park to denounce the anti-Black hate crime vandalism of the BLM mural in Oakwood: [email protected] 

    3. Long term: Venice lacks a social and racial justice critical mass. Educating yourself and others on the basics of being Anti-Racist (verb) is key to remedying this harmful deficit. It is not sufficient to just be nice or “not-racist. Books like How to Be an Antiracist, The Antiracism Handbook, or Racism Without Racists are a good start.