www.montereycountyweekly.com january 18-24, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 13 Hundreds of people gathered in Seaside on Monday, Jan. 15, the day that Martin Luther King, Jr. would have turned 95. They marched down Broadway, along Fremont Boulevard and ended their route at the Oldemeyer Center for a series of musical performances and remarks. There was, of course, a look back and a spirit of celebration, as a variety of youth groups were called to the stage to share music and ritual. But there was a lot of attention on the work left unfinished—by King, by the civil rights movement, by the generations that have come since. “Our call to action is to continue [King’s] march, towards that promised land,” Seaside Mayor Ian Oglesby said. “We still live in a racist society,” said Mel Mason, a longtime civil rights activist. “There are a lot of issues we still have to deal with…The systems we say are broken, they are rooted in slavery. The system is working the way it’s supposed to. We need to change the system that we have.” That can feel like an unwieldy call to action. But the day after MLK Day, on Jan. 16, a group of leaders and activists gathered at CSU Monterey Bay for the National Day of Racial Healing, a relatively new concept designed to channel that energy for what comes next and transform it into manageable, incremental steps toward progress. “We acknowledge the wounds of the past,” said emcee Vanessa Lopez-Littleton, CSUMB’s interim dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services, “and commit ourselves to the ongoing work of dismantling systemic racism.” Identifying specific, actionable components of that work— and how to do it—is the hard part. Rosa Gonzalez echoed Mason’s message of the day before about building coalitions between Black and brown communities, as well as immigrants and indigenous people. “We know we are heading in the right direction,” she said. “And we also know we have a long way to go. It is going to take many more of us stepping up for the common good, instead of the delusion of our own self-interest.” The underlying idea is that when we all thrive, it’s good for all of us—but those who already hold power are unrelenting when it comes to sharing. The day focused on a few key ideas, but returned again and again to a couple of remarkably simple concepts: listening and belonging. The emphasis was on King’s notion of agape love, an underlying empathy and compassion for all, freeing ourselves from a cycle of hate, and how to practice it—with the acknowledgment that it’s easier said than done. Author and coach Glodean Champion spoke about the need to listen as a critical step in building empathy. “We can listen without a desire to tell the person why they’re wrong,” she said. “In your silence, you may learn something.” That also includes listening to oneself, tuning into those moments of reflex when your body suggests—based on learned bias—you should be afraid of someone else. By giving into those impulses, we create silos, instead of bridges. And Champion, a Black woman, shared a brief story illustrating how that bias can cut in all directions. She described a cross-country road trip she took in 2022 with a goal of spreading love. One person she did not expect to speak to was a heavily tattooed white man, wearing a motorcycle jacket, a guy who, according to appearances, she did not presume would be eager to talk to a Black woman about agape love at the carwash. She realized she was scared; but he spoke first, breaking her fear. They spoke about love, and ended up hugging farewell. Local NAACP President Lyndon Tarver spoke about walking through the Costco parking lot the other day and people in a vehicle locking their door as he passed their SUV. “Why are we still having Jim Crow-era thoughts?” he said. “It’s all about education and communication. We need to talk to each other, not at each other.” This, perhaps, is where the work begins on a personal level. Instead of fighting the system—a thing without a face, a thing that by definition is unlovable—build a bridge, a person-to-person relationship. Make a new friend who does not look like you. Diversify your own world first; the rest will follow. Sara Rubin is the Weekly’s editor. Reach her at sara@mcweekly.com. Race Relations The day after MLK Day, a group asks: What’s next? By Sara Rubin Getting Boared…As a member of a marine ecosystem, Squid knows the laws of nature: Without predators, a species can flourish—good for them—but also upset the balance of the ecosystem to the point where it’s bad for everyone else. Such appears to be the case now for wild pigs in Monterey County, where in the 1920s, George Gordon Moore—a wealthy socialite, and an avid hunter—released wild boars at Rancho San Carlos in Carmel Valley, introducing them to the West Coast. They have since run rampant. They breed so fast you must kill 70 percent of them annually just to keep the population even—that’s a lot of hunting and trapping. Dan Burton, owner of Seaside-based Urban Trapping Wildlife Control, which is contracted by the county to manage wild pigs in Monterey County Parks, says it’s not a matter of if there is an impending pigpocalypse, but when. He says pigs are starting to come down out of the foothills after the recent rains to feed on roots and bugs and whatnot— they love tearing up well-tended lawns, a problem for county parks—but on the phone with Squid’s colleague he shared a warning: “Once we do go back to a period of severe drought, I believe there will be a massive pig bomb in Monterey County,” he says. “It’s not hard to imagine feral pigs running down the streets of Salinas. It’s just a matter of time.” Squid’s never had a wild boar taco, but that might be a silver lining. Teetotaling Timeout…During the holidays Squid considered doing “Dry January,” but indulged in mimosas on New Year’s Day and decided “damp January”—focusing on moderation instead—fit the bill. A week later, Squid learned the Carmel City Council discussed whether or not to go dry at the city’s “Third Thursdays” events, held the third Thursday of each month, March through October during the weekly farmers market. (Except August because, Car Week.) Third Thursdays are festive affairs that include music, artist demonstrations and activities for children. In January 2023, the City Council officially approved the sale of alcohol. It’s been sold during three different events, with no reported issues. On Jan. 8, councilmembers revisited the topic for 2024, and there was resistance from councilmembers Alissandra Dramov and Karen Ferlito who declared serving alcohol was antithetical to the “family-friendly” events. “I love the Third Thursday events, I really do. I don’t happen to think alcohol is necessary,” Ferlito said. Parents, she said, should be minding their children and imbibing could be a distraction. Mayor Dave Potter and councilmembers Bobby Richards and Jeff Baron disagreed and the measure passed 3-2. Squid is not impressed by such clutching at pearls. A glass of wine that benefits local nonprofits is hardly worth the protest. the local spin SQUID FRY THE MISSION OF MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY IS TO INSPIRE INDEPENDENT THINKING AND CONSCIOUS ACTION, ETC. “We need to talk to each other, not at each other.” Send Squid a tip: squid@mcweekly.com