SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (FinalCall.com) – Their sentiments were made plain on a pole at Valencia High School April 4: “No Niggers Aloud.”
Disturbed, but not surprised, a group of Black students discovered the hateful words sprawled in an area on school grounds where they commonly socialize. Despite several community meetings and years of wrangling for protection from White supremacy gangs in the Santa Clarita Valley, some continue to suffer intimidation.
“It’s just real serious that Black and Latino children can’t study in an environment where you have a gross negligence of a school that really refuses to admit that they have a serious racial problem,” stated Western Region Minister Tony Muhammad, adding that it is so severe, one mother has requested an F.O.I. (Fruit Of Islam) escort for her daughter.
“We’re living in a time where the White racist mind is coming out stronger, because they’re in fear of losing this country, but Black people can’t be silent about it and so in fear of losing their life that they don’t do everything for the safety of their children.”
Dr. Paul Priest, Valencia High School’s principal, said that such incidents are dealt with swiftly. “I think that we’re always taking steps to ensure the safety of our students,” he maintained. “We do have a hard line in terms of that kind of behavior, and when we know who the perpetrator is, we do take action.”
People Supporting Diversity is an action and support group created by the parents of non-White students who, they charge, have been harassed and attacked within Valencia High School and the Santa Clarita community. Chairman Robin Williams-Nohara informed that, despite their efforts to work with William S. Union Hart School District administrators and law enforcement, nothing concrete has occurred.
“The status is quo. They are meeting to be meeting, and that was always their intention, to keep a smoke screen going and to make it really seem as though they are looking for a resolution,” she stated.
Pat Willett, the District’s Community Liaison Officer, said that, as with any such incident, the graffiti was reported to the school deputy, photographed and removed immediately. She further offered that the District’s newly-created ad hoc committee on diversity, including parents, students, educators, administrators, businesses and the community-at-large, will submit three long- and short-term solutions to the problem.
London native Ghita El Harrak has lived in Santa Clarita for nine years and is shocked at the level of racism in America, and what happened to her eldest son, Sahid, between 1997 and 1998. Among other things, “He was basically beaten every other day, called “sand nigger,” ‘beano” and a “dirty Arab.” He is still emotionally affected by it today and it damaged his potential in academics, confidence, self-esteem, everything you can imagine,” she said, adding that her complaints to the school district and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) availed little.
Ms. El Harrak opined on why some Blacks in America may be ill-affected by racism: “There is an inner desire to be integrated and to be accepted by the White society, and that’s never ever going to happen. They (Blacks) haven’t been able to form some kind of unity. I’m not saying a separate society, but some kind of independence.”
The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations (LACCHR) encourages victims of hate crimes to document evidence of the crime and report it to the police, LACCHR or a community-based organization that counsels such victims.