10 Actions our Community Took to Change for The Better in 2020
Having worked with the Santa Barbara community for the past 20 years, we feel incredibly fortunate and proud to call Santa Barbara “home”. As our world strives to become better – holding ourselves accountable, engaging in activism, and calling out injustice to create a fairer future for those to come – our local community has taken action to change for the better as well. We’re celebrating the progress that was made this past year, and carrying that momentum forward as we continue to create a culture of positive disruption in 2021.
1. Santa Barbara’s First Step to Racial Justice
Santa Barbara County took its first steps to acknowledge local racial inequalities and police brutality against Black people by unanimously voting to create a civilian police review board.
2. The Opening of a New Civil Rights Office
The People’s Justice Project opened a new civil rights office in Santa Barbara to protect the civil rights, liberties, and dignity of all local residents on MLK day in solidarity with his vision.
3. Students Lead March for Change
Santa Barbara High School Students, Shakir Ahmad and Talia Hamilton were among those who contributed to Santa Barbara’s Social History by leading a march of thousands fighting for social justice and change after the death of George Floyd.
4. From Indio Muerto to Hutash Street
In response to the Barbareño Chumash Tribal Council’s request for justice, the Santa Barbara City Council renamed Indio Muerto Street, Spanish for “Dead Indian” Street to Hutash Street, a Chumash term for “Earth Mother.”
5. Introducing Chad’s
A Santa Barbara landmark restaurant, previously named Sambo’s after a combination of the original owner’s name but later realized as a disparaging and racist term for black and Native people has now been renamed Chad’s.
6. Grandmothers Taking Action
Nearly two dozen members of the Society of Fearless Grandmothers took action to slow climate change at the Santa Barbara County Building by directing supervisors to not allow another oil permit.
7. Murals on Haley Street
After the tragic death of George Floyd, EOS Lounge brought the local community together by creating a mural that commemorates Floyd and addresses systemic inequality.
8. Funk Zone “Says Their Names”
Leticia Fresch, a local events planner and leader of Healing Justice, created the memorial in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone. Similar “Say Their Names” memorials have popped up throughout the United States including Los Angeles, Dallas, and Atlanta. They were inspired by Joy Proctor who, in honor of Juneteenth, planned the memorial for those taken by police brutality, racism, and injustice.
9. Surfers for Unity
Following their use of boards to spell out “Unity” in the sand, hundreds of local surfers paddled into the ocean and held 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence for George Floyd – the total time a police officer’s knee was forced on Floyd’s neck.
10. A New Local Landmark – La Casa de la Raza
By unanimous decision, council members appointed the 103-year-old building, La Casa de la Raza, to be a Santa Barbara City Landmark for its 50-year history as a Latino Cultural Center.