The Arroyo Grande City Council on Tuesday approved the formation of a diversity coalition intended to promote an environment of understanding and prevent and respond to hate crimes.
The council also approved a resolution proclaiming its honor and respect for diversity, and the city’s commitment to maintaining a zero-tolerance policy toward hate crimes.
Several local residents commended the council’s action. “This is a proud moment,” said resident Gina Whitaker.
However, a few council members noted they believe the sentiments in the council’s resolution aren’t new — but are important to formalize. “It’s what we’re already about,” said Councilman Tim Brown.
The council’s action comes nearly two months after an 11-foot-tall cross was burned outside a black teen’s window in Arroyo Grande. The suggestions for the resolution and further efforts to promote diversity were raised during a community forum in April.
Arroyo Grande police are investigating the cross burning as an arson and hate crime; no arrests have been made.
The Five Cities Diversity Coalition as proposed will have numerous members, including representatives from the NAACP; the Anti-Defamation League; local city and county officials, the Lucia Mar school district; the faith community; and from groups such as the Latino Outreach Council, Japanese Welfare Association; and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of the Central Coast.