Glendale, California becomes the first city in California and third in the nation to pass a resolution apologizing for its history as a “sundown town,” a term that has an extremely racist and violent history.
The Glendale city council responded to this June’s Black Lives Matter protests with a promise to address racial bias in the city, beginning with a unanimously-passed resolution apologizing for and condemning the “sundown town” name.
According to the book Sundown Town by historian James Loewen, the phrase was the name given to thousands of U.S. cities where Black people were warned not to be caught after dark.
Signs in those cities would read “Don’t let the sun set on you here, understand,” and resorted to intimidation, violence or discriminatory laws.
“It has that legacy and it makes sense to address that head on,” Glendale City Councilman Dan Brotman said, according to NBC Los Angeles. “The resolution does commit us to look at how we conduct affairs in Glendale and look at how racism may be playing a role.”
The city council also said they would hire an investigator to do a historic context study to document the racial history of Glendale and to look how racism may play a factor in the city’s hiring practices, housing and policing moving forward.
“It’s extremely empowering and makes a community feel like they can come together and now we can think about healing and reconciliation,” said Tara Peterson, who runs the Coalition for an Anti-racist Glendale.