In the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, citizens have taken to the streets all over the nation, and the world, to protest institutionalized racism and police violence.
In this episode of Talk of the Bay, host Len Beyea invited several local Black citizens to tell their stories of what it’s like to be Black in Santa Cruz County. These are very personal stories, revealing in the universality of their experiences.
Thairie Ritchie came to Santa Cruz in 2008, when he began attending Mission Hill Middle School. He currently lives in Capitola and works in Live Oak and Santa Cruz.
Jinx DeRuisa was born and raised mostly on the southside of Chicago and made her way to UCSC in 1969 as an Arts and Crafts student where she eventually also obtained a BA in Political Theory. She enrolled in and studied with the first African American Studies cohort at UCSC in 1970 with James McPherson. She later earned an M.A. in Library Science at SJSU. Very diverse and eclectic artistic, musical, political, spiritual and vocational experiences have supported her entrée into many social classes and mindsets yet she still experiences marginalization, especially and broadly due to race and gender. In the early days she watched the early fruition of the Nation of Islam, Civil Rights Movement, and Black Panthers. Along the road in those times she met and conversed with Huey Newton, Buckminster Fuller, Angela Davis, and Joan Baez. She is a Vietnam era Army veteran and mother of 3 children. Jinx has lived in Mexico, France and New Zealand where she gained a certain degree of perspective.
Joy Flynn has lived in Santa Cruz County for 40 years. She grew up in Corralitos, and is a mother of 3, all born in Santa Cruz. She is an active and engaged community member who has served on various boards in the County over the past 7 years, including as Board President of the Bradly Home and School Club, the Aptos Chamber, and currently as a Second Harvest Food Bank Board Trustee and a Friend of the Walnut Avenue Women’s Shelter.
Simba Kenyatta has lived in Santa Cruz since 1979 and among other things is the Chair and co-founder of the Santa Cruz County Community Coalition to Overcome Racism, or SCCCCOR. SCCCCOR was founded in 2007 to address structural racism as the root cause of racial inequity in Santa Cruz County. Simba has been involved in anti-racism work since he was a member of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in 1968-’69. https://sccccor.org
James is a local business owner who has lived in Santa Cruz County for many years, having lived all over the country before moving here.