“This is our moment, this is our moment to make history,” says Supervisor Chuck Washington who represents Riverside County’s District 3.
Inspired by diverse voices coming together across our nation calling for an end to institutional racism following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer, Riverside County Supervisor Chuck Washington spoke out during Tuesday’s board meeting hoping for change.
“It’s not about whether you are racist, it’s about whether there is systemic racism in America, and there is, we need to address it,” he added.
The issue was addressed during a policy review on the county’s policing was presented by board chair V. Manuel Perez, that ultimately failed and was opposed by Sheriff Chad Bianco. Bianco said he was not opposed to transparency or dialogue but this proposal was more about politics and not progress.
Washington says this should have been approached differently and wants to sit down with the sheriff one-on-one.
“Symbolic gestures don’t solve the problem … we just want to have that dialogue I‘m going to have that dialogue with him, I‘m not giving up on the subject matter,” says Washington adding he has faith in the sheriff and the intentions of the board.
Washington says leading during this time gives him perspective of what it must have been like for his father in Mississippi, “There were newspaper articles about him being the first negro doctor in the history of the state at a state hospital, I was too young at the time to be aware of any of that going on,” adding he now sees they are a lot alike.
More than five decades later, he too has been the first to pave the way as the first African American mayor of Murrieta, Temecula and now county supervisor.
“I just want to be a role model for young people, not only black people but white people as well because when they see a black person doing something that didn’t fit necessarily a stereotype then they begin to see that we’re capable, we’re capable of doing many things that maybe they did not give us credit for doing in the past,” he says.
Washington says we must seize this moment as a nation so that every person regardless of color or creed has equal opportunity, “Because when we have everyone contributing, every pocket of our very diverse nation that makes for a better America.”