Tracy Press: Council moves forward on equity initiative

When the Black Lives Matter movement reemerged in the wake of George Floyd's death, Rhodesia refused to let division and paranoia prevail. Instead, she got input from youth activists, police leaders, and other key stakeholders, and designed the Tracy Equity and Empowerment Initiative, designed to improve public safety, community well-being, and government accountability.

“There were five (protests) that I attended in Tracy with the young adults that were out protesting,” Ransom said. “We asked them, ‘What are your demands?’ and really what they were asking for was not unreasonable. They were asking that they live in a community that values them based on who they are, the content of their character. As a city, that’s something we should definitely be able to deliver on.”

Ransom said that, among the desired outcomes, the city should promote policies affirming that city leaders trust the city’s police officers.

“There are some references in this document, the larger document, that point to some evidence regarding the types of training that basically give the officers the confidence in knowing that these different policies that they adopt are actually a way to protect them while they’re doing their job, but also help them gain trust with the community,” she said.

She added later that efforts to rethink the role of police in the larger context of public safety and social equity should not be oversimplified, as happens in calls to “defund” police departments.

“We’ve even had conversations with the young people, and Councilman Arriola and I said that you really need to be careful when you’re using those terms, because those terms are triggers for people and they don’t hear anything you say once you say something like that,” Ransom said.

“There is no proposal, nothing here about defunding the police. We’ve said to look at the city-wide budget,” she added. “We also made that clear when we had our conversation with the police association representatives. We think it’s important to make sure people do not hijack this conversation and make it a divisive conversation, one that says you cannot support police and stand up against racism.”

For more information, please click here, and to read the Initiative in its entirety, click here!