2/2/2023 | OCCDL’s Statement in Celebration of Black History Month
Harvard-trained historian, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, founded Negro History week—the precursor to Black History Month—in February of 1926 to combat a default historical narrative that excluded blacks and their contributions. As Dr. Woodson noted, the inclusion of a race within the larger historical narrative is important as exclusion leads to an inevitable conclusion by the ignorant that the excluded race must have “no worthwhile tradition,” which in turn can be used to countenance all manner of discrimination. Thus, while Dr. Woodson’s ultimate vision was for a shared understanding of “the history of the world void of national bias, race hatred and religious prejudice,” he recognized that specifically emphasizing “the Negro in History” was an essential step towards that goal.
It is in that spirit that OCCDL celebrates Black History Month and seeks to emphasize black peoples’ place in History—particularly the history of our community, the Orange County legal community. Generally, the history of blacks in Orange County has been one of exclusion. Following Orange County’s secession from Los Angeles County in 1889, the Ku Klux Klan thrived, particularly in cities such as Huntington Beach and Anaheim, with the latter being promoted “as a model Klan city” in 1924. Although overt Klan activity in Orange County dissipated over time, this founding history and the not unrelated stereotype of the so-called “Orange Curtain” have had lasting effects. During Black History Month in 1986, the Los Angeles Times ran an article about “The Black Experience” in Orange County, noting that, as of 1980 “blacks were a minority among minorities” in Orange County, making up “scarcely more than 1% of the 1.9 million total population.” Over forty years later, black people make up a nearly identical proportion of Orange County’s population.
Despite all this, members of the black community have had an outsized positive impact on Orange County and, in particular, its legal community. Throughout this month, OCCDL will be promoting stories of these contributions. Please join us in learning and retelling these stories to ensure that they are rightly included in the collective understanding of our shared history.
2/1/2023 | Updated Statement from OCCDL on the Mass Shootings in California
The Orange County Coalition for Diversity in the Law extends our deepest condolences to everyone impacted by the horrific mass shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, where a joyous celebration of the Lunar New Year, and then a normal workday, turned into yet two more devastating events forever changing many. We grieve with the families of the victims of these senseless acts of gun violence, many of whom were loved and respected elders within their communities:
- Valentino Marcos Alvero, 68
- Hongying Jian, 62
- Yu Lun Kao, 72
- LiLan Li, 63
- Mymy Nhan, 65
- Ming Wei Ma, 72
- Diana Man Ling Tom, 70
- Muoi Dai Ung, 67
- Chia Ling Yau, 76
- Wen Tau Yu, 64
- Xiujuan Yu, 57
- Zhi Shen Liu, 73
- Qi Zhong Cheng, 66
- Marciano Martinez Jimenez, 50
- Ye Tao Bing, 43
- Ai Xiang Zhang, 74
- Jing Zhi Lu, 64
- Jose Romero Perez, 38
12/15/2022 | Everett Dorey, LLP and OCCDL Denounce Antisemitism
The rise of antisemitism has been ongoing for years and recently has been on shocking display as high-profile public figures espouse hatred of and promote violence against Jewish people. Such blatant hostility cannot be allowed to become commonplace. We hereby unequivocally denounce antisemitism and intolerance of any diverse or minority group. We also pledge to do our part to be vocal about these issues and stand up against such deplorable threats to Jewish Americans. We strongly encourage all policymakers, community leaders, and others to join us in promoting equality and in condemning the violence and harmful rhetoric against Jewish people that simply has no place in our community. We are stronger when we stand together against hate.
3/4/2022 | OCCDL’s Statement Denouncing Racism in Schools
On January 21, 2022, Makai Brown, a Black high school student and basketball player at Portola High School in Irvine, California was subjected to hate speech on the court during a basketball game at Laguna Hills High School, which is part of Saddleback Valley Unified School District in Orange County, California. This is not the first incident of hate speech at Orange County schools, particularly at high school sporting events. OCCDL condemns these racist comments and acknowledges that what Makai and others have endured is bullying and abuse. Our local diverse student community deserves better, not because they are Black, LGBT, or have other diverse qualities, but because they are human. We stand with Makai and the Brown family and support and join the Brown family’s quest for reform. We call on all persons invested in educating our collective future to take swift action to address racism and hate speech in schools. Here’s the link to Thurgood Marshall Bar Association —> https://bit.ly/3oyvBeh where there is a link to the news story.