I am writing because of the proposed budget cuts in Sonoma County’s behavioral health funding that would necessitate closing almost all of the mental health self-help centers run by Goodwill Industries Redwood Empire. These established programs have a continuing history of proven success and I fear that in terms of long-term costs to the local community, they would be all-too conspicuous in their absence.
The secular recovery support groups are able to take up where the 12-step programs leave off and so avert some of the huge costs to our society from addictions and mental illness. I have lost friends and family to drug addiction and alcoholism so I am well aware of where untreated mental illness and addiction can take the unfortunate.
This past week surfaced a potentially serious red flag at Petaluma’s Kenilworth Junior High School. In this year’s published yearbook, several white student members of the basketball team are allegedly seen displaying a hand sign associated with white power hate groups. The parents, students and administration are now scrambling to understand how or why this picture was permitted to be published in what is meant to be a memory book for all students. Although the administration is offering an exchange for any student wishing to turn in their current yearbook with an updated copy, there is much more at play here. Youth are the seeds of the future, but how we fertilize and nurture these seeds is what gives us a flower or a weed. The incident at Kenilworth should surprise no one. A quick Google search fills our search page with stories of exponential hate crime growth around the country and in Sonoma County. The investigation into this incident should not focus solely on the students who participated in this alleged display of hate symbolism, but also include the current administration. Educators are front and center in ensuring these seeds are nurtured toward being flowers.
The Petaluma community, especially members of oppressed groups, are watching how our school board and Kenilworth administration handle this alleged student display of white supremacy. It’s time to face up to white supremacy and keep it’s toxic agenda out of our schools. Let’s be open and honest with the reality here and address it as a community to ensure we get more flowers from our schools.
This has to be a joke. The “OK” sign is racist now? And these kids are playing the circle joke! And doing it properly. Official rules state the circle must be below the waist.
Department of Corrections
The opening photo of “Rocks & Rolling” (May 29, 2019) credited the wrong photographer. The photographer is John Blackwell. The Bohemian regrets the error.
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