Initiated several years ago, the Raza Database Project has documented violence against Brown people by law enforcement in the United States. On Friday, Sept. 29, the project’s final report will be issued at the LEAD Summit XII’s presentation, “Police Use of Excessive Force/Raza Database Project.”
The capstone presentation will conclude a day of programs on the summit’s theme, “¡Ya Basta! – Enough is Enough!: Education and Violence in the Context of our Schools, Community Safety, and Law-Enforcement.”
Registration is still open for the summit, which will take place from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Santos Manuel Student Union South. Visit the 2023 LEAD Summit XII Registration webpage to reserve your spot. The opening procession, “The Injustice Never Leaves You,” dedicated to the memory and legacy of Roberto “Dr. Cintli” Rodriguez, will begin at 9 a.m.
Rodriguez, author and former associate professor of Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona, was the Raza Database project director who passed away earlier this year. He himself was a survivor of police brutality when he was beaten by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in March 1979 while taking photos on assignment for Lowrider Magazine. During that assignment on Whittier Boulevard, Rodriguez took photos of deputies beating a man. As he did so, deputies turned on Rodriguez; the beating he suffered kept him in the hospital for three days. On top of that, he was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and assault and battery on a peace officer. Those charges were eventually dropped, and Rodriguez’s subsequent civil suit against Los Angeles County over the incident was successful.
Rodriguez “began his inquiry into the subject in 2016 by comparing well-known Hispanic surnames with the names of individuals reported in the ‘White,’ ‘Other,’ and ‘Unknown’ categories of national databases of police killings that were created following the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014,” according to a special advance fact sheet on the database. “His initial inquiry concluded that deaths of Latino and Indigenous people at the hands of police were under-counted in widely reported national databases by a quarter to one-third. He also called attention to media narratives that virtually ignored the killings of Latinos by law enforcement, even in Southern California, the largest Hispanic media market in the country.”
The panel presentation will be moderated by Ivette Xochiyotl Boyzo, a mental health/patient and civil and human rights advocate. She will be joined by Jesus Garcia, a demographer statistician, LEAD ArcGIS Raza Database Project; and Yaotl Mazahua, a social worker with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, a member of the Tutcint Advisory Council and the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, and lead singer of the band Aztlan Underground.
Each year the summit, which is open to the public and free to attend, brings together teaching professionals and educators, researchers, academics, scholars, administrators, independent writers and artists, policy and program specialists, students, parents, civic leaders, activists and advocates – all sharing a common interest and commitment to education issues that impact Latinos to help them define the future.
“Attendance in this year’s summit is imperative because in all the forms of violence, we as a society just move on to other things,” said Enrique Murillo Jr., LEAD executive director and CSUSB professor of education. “But neither the victims, the families, nor the communities are able to move on.”
Programs during the summit will examine the challenges the community faces. Scheduled panel discussions will include “Violence, Learning, and Generational Trauma (and Healing)”; “From the Massacre at El Porvenir to El Paso to Uvalde: State and Hate Violence against Latinos in America”; “Missing and Murdered Indigenous People: Addressing the MMIP Crisis”; and “Gun Violence Prevention: Students Need Safe Environments to Learn, Live, and Grow.”
With the sobering topic of violence and how it impacts education, the summit will also feature a Healing Lounge, staffed by counselors from CSUSB’s Counseling and Psychological Services, where summit participants can take a break. From the webpage for the Healing Lounge: “Trauma and healing (or a lack thereof), challenging disparities/inequities, oppression, poverty, social disfunction, violence, and seeking justice and accountability, across multiple sites of lived experiences among various communities, are themes that may emerge in many ways throughout the conference proceedings. We acknowledge the topics covered may sit heavy with some at times.”
In addition, the summit’s featured photo exhibit, “Resilience in Inland Southern California: Enduring Policing, Violence, and Poverty,” by Humberto Floreswill present a human perspective on the issue. Flores, a first-generation Chicano from the Inland Empire, is a doctoral candidate in sociology from UC Santa Barbara whose research examines the brunt of policing in the Inland Empire. He was a featured speaker for the university’s Conversations on Race and Policing during the 2023 spring semester.
Activist Dolores Huerta has been named the honorary chair/madrina de honor and actor Emilio Rivera will be the honorary chair/padrino de honor for the summit. And both are familiar with the summit’s theme, having experienced different strands of it, Murillo said.
Huerta was severely beaten by a San Francisco police officer during a peaceful protest in September 1988 and later won a judgement against the San Francisco Police Department and the city. Rivera grew up in an area known as Frogtown in Los Angeles’ Elysian Valley, and was involved in street gangs growing up before turning to acting to leave that lifestyle behind.
Visit the LEAD Summit XII website for more information on the summit and LEAD’s other programs.