An independent investigation requested by the County of Riverside finds that no discriminatory actions were taken by the city of La Quinta when it requested the name of a Mexican Independence Day performance at the La Quinta Library be changed.
City staff says they requested the name of the event be changed to “Cultural Celebration” in order to be more inclusive of other cultures. School officials said the move was discriminatory in nature. According to the report, that was not the case.
“Following the cities request, which was simply to change the name of the event and not the programming, staff at the library who are employees of a county contractor, library systems and services, were not as thorough as they should have been,” said Riverside County Supervisor Manny Perez.
According to the report, a lack of discussion between the city and library staff led the library staff to make assumptions regarding the city’s intent for the performance.
“Miscommunication and misunderstandings led to program modifications on the day of the event to take out reference to Mexican Independence Day,” Perez said.
As a result, an elementary school student was unable to give a prepared speech about Mexican Independence day. The Mexican flag along with a Cesar Chavez flag were also not included in the performance. In addition, the report found that the city received feedback that may have prompted a title change.
“We know for a fact that a man came into the library before the request was made, saw the original flyer for the Mexican Independence day celebration and stated words to the effect of quote, ‘if they love mexico so much why don’t they all go back to Mexico,” said Perez
The report does not state with certainty to what degree the comment was a factor in changing the name of the performance.
“As the county supervisor for this area I apologize to the children of the Coachella Valley Unified School District and To Cesar Chavez Elementary school. These kids did not deserve what happened at what was said to be a positive and beautiful celebration of Mexican Independence,” Perez said.