Name: Victor Bryant
Title: Sports Writer and Cover Story Contributor
Why is this week’s issue important not just for black Santa Barbarans but for the whole community? For me as a black person, it is always refreshing to encounter a black perspective that I can identify with. We only make up about 2 percent of the population in Santa Barbara, so even with issues that directly affect us, our voices are so often drowned out. This Juneteenth issue is an opportunity to be heard. I think because Santa Barbara is considered to be a progressive city, the temptation is there for its inhabitants to rest on shared ideology, when in fact anti-racism is more about everyday interactions and everyday commitment to change.
What do you hope to convey with your piece? What do you want people to take away? Race relations is an extremely nuanced issue, and the way I wanted to address it is through my nuanced life experience. My hope is to illuminate how issues of race are not confined to Minneapolis or Los Angeles, but every city everywhere. We all have work to do in order to eradicate racism.
What do you think Santa Barbara might be doing well, in terms of eradicating racism? Where does it still need work? I am encouraged by Santa Barbara’s call to action and by the spark set forth by [Black Lives Matter Santa Barbara]. The passion of Simone Ruskamp and Krystle Farmer Sieghart has always been admirable. My concern in this city is about maintaining momentum. So often in Santa Barbara there is a facade, a need to pretend that we are championing equity, but when you dig down into the details and you lift up the rug, our institutions fall woefully short of providing an equitable reality for people of color.