Rep. Ruiz Holds ‘Listening Session’ to Address Racial Injustice

Rep. Ruiz Holds ‘Listening Session’ to Address Racial Injustice

Daytona Everett

“My goal is to listen to listen intently.”

Those were the words of Congressman Raul Ruiz as he brought together African American leaders from across the Coachella Valley for a virtual round-table.

The message Ruiz focused on for the meeting Wednesday morning was how we can go from “internalizing despair to externalizing hope and action”.

“My role was to listen and to have a deeper understanding and to elevate the voice of African Americans in our community,” he said.

“Hope without action is simply hope.” 

From religious leaders, to council members to members of the youth, the conversations had people from all different backgrounds.

“Many people aren’t a fan of the violence, I feel as though in our generation that’s how we feel that we can be heard,” Zjarvre Crawford, a student in the round table said. “Martin Luther King was a peaceful protester and they still shot him.”

Everyone brought key points to the table about use of force policies, mental health, systemic racism and what we can do better.

“‘We all came from different perspectives but we’re all saying the same thing,” Bishop Kaphyan Shepard from Desert Hot Springs Word of Life Fellowship said.

NBC Palm Springs asked Indio council member Waymond Fermon and Bishop Shepard what their biggest takeaway was. Both responded: the dialogue.

Their goal of a healthy conversation was accomplished.

“We were able to accomplish that with some very concrete ideas, some very concrete recommendations,” Ruiz said.

“Father we just thank you, we lay these petitions at your right now God,” Bishop prayed to end the conversation.

Ruiz said people in positions of power, like legislators, have the unique opportunity to create change and there is some legislation in place but he said people should not wait for congress to act.

“Solutions can be made in our own communities now.”