Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg said that America’s symbol should not be the bald eagle, but the pendulum, “and when the pendulum swings too far in one direction, it will swing back.”
Our historic limit of white men as leaders has become habitual. When only one kind of person is seen as valid leadership, it leaves our whole culture misrepresented.
Tuesday night’s election of Alex Fisch was not surprising. There has never been a shortage of white men or lawyers on the dais at City Hall. No disrespect to Alex; he was clearly the top vote collector, and his skill set is one that is greatly needed and will be truly useful in the next few years. But the election of Daniel Lee was historic; the first African American on the Culver City Council. It was a close race on election night, and Lee and Vera were within easy shouting distance for much of the evening. Lee’s triumph puts some emphatic punctuation on what looks to be a new era for leadership in Culver City.
With Leslie Lockhart as the District Superintendent, Melanie Mack at the helm of the Education Foundation, and Colin Diaz in the President’s chair at the Chamber of Commerce, lots of our local leadership is delightfully diverse than it ever has been. Of course, these people did not get these positions because of their ethnicity, but the fact that it was not a factor against them shows that Culver City has grown up in some very important ways.
Culver City has had a racist reputation for most of it’s history. At a recent “Coffee with A Cop” event, I struck up a conversation with some men who were just there to get coffee, and did not know about the community outreach from the CCPD. Both of these men, one African-American and one Latino, said they’d grown up in the area, and they had tales to tell of getting pulled over, harassed, and learning to just avoid the city. One man noted that, as a teenage driver, he’d go out of his way to go around Culver City, burning gasoline he could barely afford rather than risk dealing with the CCPD.
That our police force is now actually more diverse that the population of the city itself speaks to how much effort has been made to erase the bad old days.
Having Lee joining the council does feel like the exclamation point that it ought to be, and he has every right to be proud of the accomplishment.
When Ginsburg was asked how many women would be enough for the Supreme Court, she said “When there are nine. No one thought anything was odd about having nine men.”
As the pendulum swings and we find a new balance, we can look hopefully to a day when we can all feel included.