ELK GROVE (CBS13) – Elk Grove residents packed into a room at the Elk Grove Park Pavilion Monday night for a discussion on race relations.
“Our six year old doesn’t even know the difference between black and white because there is no difference,” said Kimberly Vital, a mother of five who lives in Elk Grove.
Monday’s conversation was sparked by a hateful letter posted last month on the front door of DreamGirls Salon in Old Town Elk Grove. It read in part, “blacks cause too much damage … get out!”
“They’re ignorant and they don’t know any better,” said Sharie Wilson, owner of DreamGirls Salon.
But Wilson told CBS13 that she’s been singled out for being black for years.
“It doesn’t just happen to me,” she said. “How can you talk about the solution if you haven’t talked about the problem.”
“He was spit on, called names, called the N-word every day,” said Pastor Kay Powell, explaining why she took her son out of Elk Grove High School. “He was terrorized going to school.”
“This is the first time I have had to have a conversation about race with my kids because they have no idea what hate is,” Vital said, fighting back tears.
Nearly every person in the room raised their hand high when facilitator Alana Mathews asked if they thought racism was problem in their city.
“We’re completely enraged and extremely disappointed because we live in one of the most diverse cities in the nation,” said Councilmember Darren Suen.
Story after story, it became clear that the older generation is desperate to protect the next.
“August 4, 1968, my father was murdered in Edwards, Mississippi by the Klu Klux Klan,” said Elsie Easley. “If you hate me because of the color of my skin, there’s nothing I can do about that because see that’s how God made me.”
Over the next two weeks, the city will host two more meetings, both meant to come up with solutions on how to move forward as a community.