If you want to see the 5 Supervisors interested or excited about a subject just look up any of the “Revenue Enhancement” meetings where they use taxpayer money for consultants and think tank people for the word crafting for Measure W etc.
Photos from December 4, 2018 Board of Supervisors Public Comment.
Rabbi Steven Weil wrote a meditation on suffering after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. In it, he quotes the Talmudic theologian, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, who theorized that Judaism’s approach to suffering rests on three pillars. The first is accepting that suffering and evil exist. The second pillar demands active, steadfast resistance to evil. The final pillar calls for faith that resistance will eventually be rewarded, even in the face of defeat.
There is also a Christian tradition of standing in the gap. It refers to being an intercessor, a go-between, a person who takes the weight, who intercedes on behalf of another for mercy, or salvation, or justice.
I am not, despite my wonderful mother’s very best efforts, a person of religious faith. I am, however, a person of conviction, and I am thinking of this because this week, over 50 people stood in the gap for our family, for justice, when they attended the San Mateo County Board of Supervisor’s Meeting. Social justice activists, veterans, Morehouse alumni, faith leaders, my Facebook colleagues current and former, employees of other tech companies, San Mateo county citizens-a coalition of people with the courage and conviction to stand in the gap.
One of the items for review during that Board meeting was a request from the San Mateo County Sheriff for a $4 million contract to Axon Enterprise. This was notable, because Axon is the manufacturer of tasers. While the revised stated purpose is for body cameras, the resolution authorizes the Sheriff to amend the term and the services provided without review, and waives the normal proposal process for any changes carrying a cost of $100,000 or less. The resolution was passed.
That a county in which 3 unarmed citizens were killed with supposedly non-lethal tasers within 10 months would allow a resolution giving the Sheriff a $100,000 blank check for the purchase of more tasers, before its coroner has even returned a report on the last killing-it certainly feels like defeat. That a county in the process of investigating its third taser killing, after having imposed no sanction at all on any of the officers involved in the first two, would allow all six deputies who killed the third victim back to work-that certainly feels like defeat. That the San Mateo County Sheriff would go one step farther and actually assign one of those deputies to work on the day of the Board of Supervisors meeting so that friends and family of the most recently deceased would see him on their way in-that certainly feels like defeat. That those deputies were back at work before my mother could get a permanent marker for my brother’s grave-that certainly feels like defeat.
When I watch those clergy, friends, colleagues, concerned citizens stand in the gap-I take heart. When I hear from many of the thousands of people who have called and written District Attorney Wagstaffe to demand transparency-I take heart. When I hear from so many people who had previously lived lives untouched by police brutality tell me about how they are getting and staying proximate, I take heart.
I am not a person of faith. I am convinced that the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice, but not through magical thinking. It bends ONLY when we fight for every single inch.
As Frederick Douglass said-
”Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted.”
I am so grateful to those of you who resist.
**To get proximate, to help-
1. You can call DA Wagstaffe (try doing it once a week!) to demand justice and transparency-ask him to assure the public that the outside investigator is truly independent : (650) 363-4636. Office hours are M-F 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT.
2. If you are interested in doing more-DM me, or reach out to any of the social justice orgs below.
Anti Police-Terror Project
Faith in Action Bay Area
Black Alliance for Just Immigration
Color Of Change
Congregational Church of San Mateo United Church of Christ
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Redwood City – UUFRC
Pacifica Social Justice
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus
Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo
Trinity Presbyterian Church, San Carlos
Woodside Road United Methodist Church
University AME Zion Church
Peninsula Democratic Socialists of America
By Michael G. Stogner