On December 26, news broke that the South County Chambers of Commerce awarded its Nipomo Person of the Year award to SLO County Planning Commissioner Jim Harrison. Despite his role as a non-partisan, appointed public servant, it came to light that Jim had expressed Anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, and racist views on social media. We joined with partners like R.A.C.E Matters, GALA, and JCC to publish an open letter calling for the Chambers of Commerce to rescind his award and for him to step down from his position. Just a few days later his award was rescinded, and he resigned from the County Planning Commission.
This is the type of solidarity and coordinated action that can create meaningful social change, in SLO County and across the country. The work doesn’t end here. Our community needs to have a larger conversation about how Mr. Harrison’s hateful statements fit into the underlying web of racism and bigotry in SLO County.
Bend the Arc and our partners are calling on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors to publicly demonstrate their support for a community that is united against White Nationalism, hate and bigotry in all forms.
We are asking them to join our vision for SLO by creating a resolution that:
1) Condemns all forms of hatred and bigotry;
2) Affirms the inherent value of peace, respect, inclusivity and equity;
3) Recognizes that we derive strength from our diversity;
4) Endeavors to create a safe and welcoming community, where all government officials, whether County staff, elected representatives, or appointed officials decry violence, bigotry, and hatred in all forms.