‘Black Lives Matter’ Banners Unveiled at San Jose City Hall

San Jose leaders unveiled 13 new “Black Lives Matter” banners around City Hall on Thursday, demonstrating the city’s commitment to addressing and dismantling systemic racism locally and supporting its Black community.

“This is the beginning of a very important process,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said. “To find a way to prominently celebrate the Black Lives Matter movement, to acknowledge the importance of our work ahead and to manifest our collective commitment to embrace that work.”

To Liccardo, that work is not just celebrating the city’s diversity, but rather “reckoning with our history of racial injustice,” and taking tangible steps to undo the damage.

So, he reached out to community leader and YouthHype founder Latoya Fernandez following the George Floyd protests in late May and June, to create a project that would explore how to visually reflect these civic declarations in public spaces.

“We knew we needed some artistic representation at a central location,” Fernandez said.

To find the central location, Fernandez surveyed Black residents and youth in San Jose and asked where the most impactful location would be for the city to represent its solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Everyone, unanimously pretty much said City Hall is the place,” she said.

Then, Fernandez and Liccardo brought on Cherise Orange, a local Black entrepreneur to design the banner.

The banners list 575 names of Black Americans who lost their lives to “personal, systemic and institutional racism,” in the shape of the letters B,L,M, Orange said. Phrases, “Black Lives Matter” and “Voices, Dreams, Futures” were also featured underneath the letters in the colors of the Pan-African flag.

“They no longer have their lives, they are not able to dream of possibilities or have futures in a world that would one day not see their skin color as a threat,” Orange said. “So, we must be the voice for them and triumph against racism.”

Most of the names were of Black Americans who lost their lives to police violence from 2000 to 2020 but also mentioned are prominent historical names like Emit Till, Martin Luther King Jr. and Edgar Evans.

“They were real people with families, hopes and dreams taken away because we love Black culture but we don’t love Black people,” Orange said.

Vice Mayor Chappie Jones and Director of Cultural Affairs, Kerry Adams Hapner were also part of the initiative and spoke about the significance of these banners.

“Symbols and statements have meaning and they express to the world where our values are as a city,” Jones said. “But symbols and words aren’t enough ... the US has spent the last 400 years creating and perfecting the most sophisticated caste system the world has ever seen. ... If we are going to make meaningful change it is going to take time, talent and money.”

Hapner, who’s Office of Cultural Affairs funded the initiative, said the banners were a continuation of San Jose’s commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement, after the city adopted a statement in solidarity on June 28 of this year.

“Through the arts we can really promote cross-cultural understanding and foster a sense of empathy,” Hapner said. “This is a beacon not only for our local residents ... but in particular for our youth.”

Ten-year-old San Jose student, Lyric Bryant, who is also Fernandez’s daughter, said seeing Black people be killed impacted her ability to feel safe and succeed.

“I want to travel the world and make a lot of money doing what I love to do. I can't do any of that if I feel like my life is in danger all the time,” Bryant said. “Coming together as a community shows we are all impacted by this and we are all going to fight against these injustices together.”

Fernandez, along with Liccardo and Jones, said the unveiling of the banners couldn’t have come at a better time.

“It is at a perfect time with everything happening with SVO (Silicon Valley Organization) because it’s almost like, without making it intentional, this is the city’s response to that," Fernandez said. “We are saying yeah they messed up, but as a city, Black lives do matter.”

Over the last week, one of the largest Silicon Valley business organizations, the SVO, was criticized for political attacks against District 6 challenger Jake Tonkel that were described as “implicitly racist” by San Jose leaders.

On its website, it showed an image of Black men from South Africa protesting, claiming this would be San Jose’s future if Tonkel was elected to the City Council—a move that forced its CEO Matt Mahood to resign on Thursday, eight different non-profit partners to cut ties and recipient of financial contributions, Councilwoman Dev Davis to donate the money.

“The SVO incident shows that there is a lot of work to be done,” Fernandez said. “These banners are a part of that work and one of the steps forward into that work ... this is a beautiful creative project, but it is also the city taking a stand with Black Lives Matter and the Black residents.”

10 Comments

  1. > ‘Black Lives Matter’ Banners Unveiled at San Jose City Hall

    Appalling.

    “Black Lives Matter” is a political movement and the ideology of BLM is founded on “Critical Race Theory”.

    Critical Race Theory is a product of “postmodernism”.

    Postmodernism is an “intellectual” philosophy that rejects The Enlightenment which is the foundation of “Western Civilization”.

    You know, The Enlightenment: reason, science, free will, human rights.

    “Black Lives Matter” is a rejection of: reason, science, free will, human rights!

    Reasonable, rational people who value human rights and and human dignity reject “Black Lives Matter”.

    Reasonable, rational, civil people also reject: Sam Liccardo, Chappie Jones, Kerry Adams Hapner, Michele Dauber, and the rest of the postmodernist claque who are the enemies of our civilization.

  2. You clearly don’t have a philosophical background due to your clear lack of knowledge on Critical Race Theory (CRT) or Postmodernism.

    Additionally, your logical claim that ends with “rejection of: reason, science, free will, human rights” is filled with fallacies. As a professor of philosophy, I highly recommend you take an intro to logic course and an intro to CRT or contemporary philosophy.

    Good luck, many of my students come in thinking they understand the theories but always end up struggling to understand the core message, especially analytical CRT.

  3. “As a professor of philosophy…” — Golden Blowhard

    Give him credit for being true to his profession, which creates crapola theories, peddles them at outrageous prices to trusting young people, and condemns those too savvy to waste their time with them.

  4. I am white and tired of being discriminated against. We need a White Lives matter movement.

  5. > Good luck, many of my students come in thinking they understand the theories but always end up struggling to understand the core message, especially analytical CRT.

    The reason lucid, intelligent people “struggle” with postmodernism and “analytical CRT’ is that the concepts are fundamentally incoherent and irrational. They make up words, and the words mean “what I want them to mean”.

    Scholars have written AND PUBLISHED fake, garbage papers in so-called “academic journals” and won awards.

    https://nationalpost.com/news/world/dog-parks-are-petri-dishes-for-canine-rape-culture-and-more-of-the-ridiculous-studies-a-team-of-hoaxsters-got-published-in-academic-journals

    “‘Dog parks are petri dishes for canine rape culture,’ and more ridiculous studies hoaxsters got published in academic journals”

  6. No one should feel stupid or uneducated if they can’t comprehend academic goobledygook about “postmodernism”..

    It’s just a “con”. Academic hucksters pretend to articulate something deep and impenetrable just to make themselves seem smarter than you.

  7. So, the BLM banner (the WOKE equivalent of the Confederate Battle Flag) will fly over City Hall and will contain over 500 names of people supposedly killed by systemic racism? Racism exists. There will always be people who don’t like other people based on arbitrary reasons such as race; That is wrong. But, newsflash, there is no more systemic racism in this country and anyone who understands the term would see and know that.

    There are no more separate bathrooms or separate drinking fountains. There are no more Jim Crow laws. There are though social set-asides and aid programs available to “persons of color” that are not available to persons of non-color. There are persons of color in every level of government, including police departments, and we even had a Black president.

    We lose about 100 cops a year, consistently , every year, killed in the line of duty but will City Hall also allow the Law Enforcement community to fly the Thin Blue Line flag? I doubt it. Cops don’t riot, loot or burn down cities. Cops just get lambasted for risking themselves and getting injured or killed when they intervene to stop the “victims” of the “systemic rioting”. By the way, those injured and killed includes cops of every race, color and creed.

    Slavery is a scourge which has existed in societies all over the world since the dawn of history. Slavery even exists in parts of Africa today. Perhaps some of these BLM brats should take a vacation to Chad, or the Congo, Eritrea, Burundi, or Ghana.

    Slavery has existed during various periods in time in almost every country or Empire in the world since Ancient times but the United States is the only country in the history of the World that ever fought a war to end it. Will the BLM banner also contain the names of the over 100,000 Union soldiers who died in the Civil War, fighting to end slavery? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

    What a dishonorable display of weakness and, forgive me, I seldom use this word, cowardice, by San Jose’s mayor and political class. That’s not an ad hominem, it’s a factually supportable statement.

  8. Thank you Mayor Liccardo. This is one symbolic, important, action, and now we wait for the improved training of our police force and general push for more accountability city wide. Thank you.