The vision of Antiracist Riverside is a Riverside free of past and present racist prejudices, institutions, and policies to ensure equity for all is the norm.
The mission of Antiracist Riverside is to empower the individuals and communities in Riverside to eliminate racism in all its forms by building bridges of understanding, addressing discriminatory policies, and reforming institutions.
The values of Antiracist Riverside are that all humans deserve dignity, equality under the law, and equity in the community; that the marginalized must be empowered and represented; and that we must strive daily to introspect and improve, and courageously speak out and act.
Antiracist Riverside is made up of people who care about making the world a more fair, more just place - and we're starting in Riverside, California!
The group came together in the Fall of 2020 following the murder of George Floyd, Breona Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery and the subsequent racial justice uprising. Following a Riverside City Council meeting at which members of the public made racist and biased comments, three leaders decided to do something.
Janice Rooths, Regina Stell, and Leah Stuart met and launched Antiracist Riverside, with the goal of bringing together Riversiders to understand the historical legacy and present manifestations of structural racism in Riverside, and to envision what an antiracist Riverside could be.
Since that time, in just our first year of operation, and during a historic pandemic, more than 50 Riversiders got involved by attending weekly meetings, participating in Candid Conversations, reviewing and making recommendations on City policies and plans, and speaking at Council meetings to express support for antiracist measures.
Why I am Antiracist
I'll begin by saying I am a white woman with a black boyfriend of 18 years. When Roger and I first met in San Francisco, we were pulled over by police officers three times while driving. The police officer would say, “Your rear light is out”. It was not. We knew and acknowledged that we were pulled over because a black man was in the car with a white woman.
The real focus on antiracist work began I think for me after the presidential election in 2016. There were many white progressive liberals like myself feeling overwhelmed and "looking for what to focus on".
In the fall of 2019, I ran into a friend Stevie Taken at the Riverside Art and Music Festival. Stevie is very involved in local politics and local causes and she and I typically talk about racism. We always end with, “What can we do?”. This time when we met up we shared an interest in starting an antiracist book club.
Our first meeting happened in January of 2020 right after the Women's March in Riverside. Once COVID hit, we transitioned to Zoom. The decision was made to call this book club Antiracist Book/Activism club. We started with the idea that we would gather white allies to talk about racism, read books and articles, and encourage action. After the murder of George Floyd, I threw myself more into the commitment toward antiracist work. During the summer of 2020 I took an embodied antiracist workshop with Practice Progress. During the fall of 2020 I took the White Comrades Political Education class with BLMIE now called BPMIE.