September 8, 2020-Panel on Racial Equity – Meeting via Zoom

 Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Member/Alternates Only Meeting

Virtual meeting via ZOOM

Present:   Deborah Barmack, Carole Beswick, Mike Burrows, Chris Carrillo, Mark Cloud, Sandra Cuellar, Jennifer Cusack, Kevin Dyerly, Louis Goodwin, Otis Greer, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, Pam Langford, Bill Lemann, Dan Little, Darcy McNaboe, John Mirau, Tomas Morales, Vikki Ostermann, Bansree Parikh, Steve PonTell, Catherine Pritchett, Thomas Rice, Michael Rivera, Elizabeth Romero, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Sol Teh and Pete Van Helden.

Guests: Tom Nightingale and Mark Taylor.

Chairman Louis Goodwin introduced Supervisor Janice Rutherford who summarized Measure J.  The Measure will be on the November ballot and would replace the currently outdated County Charter.  To view the details, go to  The Supervisor asked for support from Inland Action.

Motion by L. King/Second by B. Lemann/Passed:  Minutes from September 1, 2020.

Chairman Louis Goodwin made the second announcement of newly proposed member Molina Healthcare of California.  Ruth Argumedo, AVP Community Engagement would serve as their primary representative and Matt Levin, VP of Government Contracts would serve as their alternate.  The membership will vote next week.  To learn more about them please visit their web site at

Lowell King introduced Dina Walker, President & CEO, BLU Educational Foundation.  BLU Educational Foundation provides educational and human services programming to youth, adults, and organizations, with a mission to build healthy productive communities.  BLU partners with nonprofits, governmental agencies and educational institutions to support the development, coordination and implementation of programs and policy. Additionally, BLU convenes groups around issues impacting communities of color.

Since earning her degree Ms. Walker has been working to give others the support they need and help people navigate and overcome the challenges and barriers that can affect degree attainment.  Her racial equity work is focused on education but works with all partners in the IE.  She stated that the recent protests caused by the murders of African Americans in our country has created a spark regarding racism.  She worked with the “Rethink Public Safety Coalition” that had community conversations about racism and community needs.  Ms. Walker praised the County for officially ratifying racism as a public health crisis, the first to do so, and taking additional action steps to address the issue.

She is pleased to be a part of the Black Equity Initiative, a coalition of black led organizations throughout the IE.  The group is working to address systemic policy changes to affect racial injustice.  With the global movement for racial justice as a backdrop, the group is in the process of building internal capacity and greater coordination across partners.  Issues include criminal justice reform, educational attainment, youth development, youth empowerment, health, and well-being. The quest for Black Equity is about leveling the playing field in all aspects of Black life—from employment to healthcare, from education to criminal justice, from affordable housing to home-ownership, as a foundation for building inter-generational wealth, and beyond.   The Black Equity Initiative of the Inland Empire has launched the Black Equity Fund (BEF).  It is a regional pooled fund with a preliminary goal of raising five million dollars over two years.  The fund is seeded with investments from The California Endowment, the Inland Empire Community Foundation, several other foundations, and private donors.

Incidents of injustice both in our communities and in schools are too often not recorded and ignored.  This creates fear in attending certain functions and/or classes.  When left unaddressed these incidents will reoccur and increase.  Some 60% of San Bernardino and Riverside county residents are people of color yet schools have not changed their curriculum to include ethnic studies.  The lack of inclusiveness contributes to the exacerbation of racial injustice.  Equality does not hurt or take away from anyone but up lifts us all.

Tomas Morales, President, California State University San Bernardino was introduced.  The shooting of unarmed black people laid bare the lack of equality and injustice in our society.  He believes this is a pivotal time to address systemic widespread racism.  Educators at all levels are key to building a different culture and to stop the system of oppression.  Policies, practices, and procedures of anti-racism must be promoted.  Diversity, equity and inclusion are priorities and what CSUSB stands for.  Universities and colleges are in a unique position to be part of the solution to end systemic racism throughout our society by becoming models of anti-racism for a culture that values and actively promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion.   They are building that culture at CSUSB by re-dedicating themselves through a Presidents’ Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Board that will examine their curriculum and recruitment process for staff, faculty, and students.  We must all strive to be actively anti-racist in ourselves, networks, organizations, communities, and institutions.

CSUSB hired independent consultants this past spring to examine marginalization and barriers to the full educational experience.  Their report indicated that CSUSB has a solid foundation, but more can be done.

They advise creation of a University Strategic Vision where they clearly articulate what equity, inclusion, and diversity looks, acts, and feels like at CSUSB.

Supervisor Janice Rutherford, County of San Bernardino was introduced.  The Supervisor stated that the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to ratifying racism as a public health crisis when proposed by Pastor Casey.  A large percentage of our residents feel excluded and that must change.  The resolution recognizes several problems San Bernardino County’s Black community faces, including an infant mortality rate more than double the county’s average.  The Supervisors voted unanimously affirming that racism is a public health crisis that results in disparities in family stability, health, mental wellness, education, employment, economic development, public safety, criminal justice, and housing.

The Supervisor stated they want to discuss and figure out how all of us can thrive.  The data reflects the disparities and that African Americans are struggling.  In San Bernardino County:

Over 27% of Blacks and over 23% of Latinos live in poverty

Only 77% of Blacks graduate high school

Only 43.8% of Black students are reading at a 3rd grade level

Life expectancy for Blacks is 74.9 years (the number is 86.4 for Asians)

Low birth weight for Black babies is 12.8%

20% of Blacks have asthma

Statewide, 61% of Black children live in single parent homes

Although government cannot solve racism, government can convene groups made up of our diverse population to discuss these issues and utilize their findings.

A Q & A period followed.
Meeting adjourned at 9:07 a.m.