Council Okays Human Relations Advisory Panel

In a unanimous vote, the City Council this week approved the creation of an Equity and Human Relations Advisory Committee (EHRAC) "to improve intergroup relations" in Culver City.

EHRAC will consists of nine members appointed by the council. Seven members will serve at large with one labor representative along with one youth representative. The committee will serve in an advisory role to both the City Council and the City Manager.

The group's main purpose is "to improve intergroup relations regardless of race, religion, gender, gender identity, gender expression sex, sexual orientation age, disability, immigration status, citizenship, color, ethnicity, or national origin, ancestry, socioeconomic status, income or other protected categories or personal characteristic," city officials said.

Most of the speakers spoke passionately about the issue at this week's council meeting.

Karlo Silbiger lamented that the issue had been brought up at previous council meeting over the years but council members saw no need for such a panel. He brought the issue before the council when both he and Kathy Paspalis were members of the Culver City School Board.

Culver City resident Samia Bano referred to an incident on the Culver City Bus she rode after leaving the Westfield Culver City mall. She was wearing the traditional hijab, the scarf Muslin women wear. A passenger stood up and shouted that he wouldn't ride on a bus with a terrorist. She told the council that the bus driver handled the situation appropriately and the rider left the bus.

Another instance of Islamophobia was reported by Shahana Malik. She told the council that she was also wearing her hijab when she was approached in a local grocery store by a person who told here, "this is not your country, you should go back." She proudly replied: "this is my country."

Resident Tom Camarella not only supported the council's action but he also said he hoped the committee would eventually graduate to full commission and "but some teeth in it."

Michael Hudson, a human relation manager, commented on the proposal citing "an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure."

Taseen Noor spoke about a group she serves on called "New Ground." Formed by the City of Los Angeles, the group is "A Muslin-Jewish Partnership for Change."

Vice Mayor Goren Eriksson pointed out to the speakers that many of the issues facing Culver City were under the purview of the Federal Government. He urged supporters to lobby their senators to move forward on the issues affecting Culver City and other local communities

Several speakers remarked that since Culver City has adopted the slogan "the City of Kindness," that the move was appropriate.


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