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September 1, 2020 – Last night I wept. This morning I’m sick at heart. The community I love is divided like never before. Oh, but here come the quail, out from the blackberry bushes, dozens of them. When I sit out on the deck writing in the morning, they tolerate me if I move slowly. Even today, they remind me of the beauty of Nevada County, which has been my home since 1971. We raised our kids here, worked elsewhere for a while, then retired here in 2005 as we always knew we would.

As a biracial family, we have known that racism is a reality here. It’s not by accident that our community is so white. But now racial animosity seems to have come to a head, here and throughout the country.

At the march for racial justice in Nevada City on August 9, I carried a small cardboard “Black Lives Matter” sign. Why? Because I despair of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) ever being treated as if they do matter, as fully human beings. I planned to stay socially distanced at the back, but an organized group (without masks) blocked our path. They wore white nationalist and Trump insignia, used flags as weapons, yelled racist and homophobic slurs, and pursued us as we tried to walk around them. They ganged up on people (including young teens), injured several people, and destroyed property. They shoved us and yelled in our faces, “Get the f___ out of our town.”

Evidently this is a homegrown hate group. The Facebook Page Patriots Pushing Back Nevada County has over 10,000 people and is growing. After the demonstration, their posts celebrated and bragged that Law Enforcement was on their side (which is indeed how it appeared). They raised funds through Go Fund Me to support Jimmy Smith, the member of the group who was arrested for two felonies. Now it’s a private Facebook group, but make no mistake: organized hate is here, embedded in our community.

Then on Sunday, Back the Blue Nevada County held a huge “Freedom Ride Parade,” ostensibly to support the police. I’m sure there were good-hearted people who participated solely to support Law Enforcement. Curious though, that the send-off speaker stated in one breath that the purpose of the parade was: “standing with Trump, standing up for our flag” and promoted “Trump gear” for sale. The “parade” included vehicles with Trump’s name and multiple flags: Trump flags, “Thin Blue Line” flags (with multiple meanings), and the US flag, like the trucks that brought disrupters to the march in Nevada City. The mixed symbols confused the event’s purpose. Was it to support the police no matter what? Glorify Trump? Claim the flag as a white nationalist symbol? Intimidate peaceful protestors? Evidently it was not to celebrate the diversity this nation represents.

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Also, our local Republican Party is sponsoring a “Political Protest” fundraiser featuring “far right commentator” Katie Hopkins. According to Twitter, Hopkins was banned in June for “violations of our hateful conduct policy,” which prohibits “promoting violence against or directly attacking or threatening people based on race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religion, age, disability or serious disease.” Yet the Nevada County Republican Party publicized their event by stating, “To underscore how GOOD she is as a strong conservative voice, Twitter last week permanently banned her from communicating with her one million followers.” In other words, hate speech is not only acceptable—it has become popular.

Racial justice demonstrations have been on hold here as people deal with trauma, injury, and threat. But this struggle is not over. I encourage everyone in despair to take heart, and those who may be possessed by the current climate of hate and authoritarianism to reconsider what it means to take a moral stand for the common good.

The quail have now moved to another spot. I probably got too excited and moved too fast while writing this article. I am thinking of going down to the Broad Street Bridge with my little BLM sign and sitting there by myself. Or it may be best to work with others who are attending online workshops on nonviolence, white supremacy, keeping each other safe, and de-escalation, to prepare to take a unified nonviolent stand for compassion, justice, peace, and environmental healing. For the sake of my community and world, for the sake of our children, I will not let go of my belief that love wins, or my commitment to helping make it so.

7 replies on “Op-Ed | Sharon Delgado: Love Wins”

  1. Thank you for your heartfelt comments, I too hold our community as a special place and my heart aches with this development. I invite you to join Braver Angeles – a group that is working hard to bridge this divide through thoughtful conversations between people who identify as red or blue. Look us up on line at braverangels.org.

  2. The cause you marched for has been corrupted. It has many deaths, and much destruction done in the BLM name. I am not saying the original cause is not just, but I am saying it has become quite destructive. People in this area don’t want to end up like Seattle or Portland. If you want to be heard, do it under a different name. BLM is tainted and it brings anger and fear for it’s past exploits. Yes people were tough, yes they are Trump supporters, but one doesn’t negate the other.
    There was no permit for the march that day, and you all had no right to block the street for those shopping and going to and from work. You are not totally innocent in all this. There will be more and more divide until those doing the destruction are disavowed by those wanting peace. So far that has not happened. It is the only thing that will bring the sides together.
    If people of peace all gather against those of harm, we can bring our country back together. It’s the only way I can see it happening.
    Peace to you and yours,
    Tammie

    1. Hello, I do hold out hope for change. In addition to voting, peaceful protest has historically been a part of bringing about such change.

  3. While marching and expressing one’s despair about people of color being treated with disrespect in our country may feel productive, I’m not sure it will change anything. In fact, so many of these events are co-opted by groups with diametrically opposite values, and violence and destruction ensues, with each side blaming the other.

    How about everyone making sure that others who feel the same way they do, vote. So many people who are feeling disempowered and disaffected have come to the conclusion that their votes don’t matter.

    This is an OP—a calculated maneuver on a targeted audience to discourage them from participating in the democratic process, thereby favoring the candidate supported by the perpetrators.

    Do not let others fall prey to non-participation in democracy! This is where the people’s power lies.

  4. This is very one sided. I was a part of the Freedom Ride on Sunday. We were there to support… Freedom. It was entirely peaceful. Not one incident of violence or hate. Although, as we drove peacefully along Broad Street many agitators screamed racist remarks at us. Accused us of being Nazis, flipped us off, and one used a mega phone to yell at us about how racist we are. It is not racist to disagree with your position. It is not racist to support our President. I too have biracial family and do not appreciate being accused of being a racist because we want to be patriotic and support our country rather than tear it down and burn it to the ground. Articles such as this only serve to further divide our community. Not a single person was hurt and not a single business was damaged on Sunday. So why can’t you let it go as the peaceful event it was rather than write an op-Ed to be divisive. The problem is the left wants to do whatever they want without any repercussions regardless of the destruction while throwing stones continuously at the right for even daring to drive through town with the oh so offensive Trump flags and the back the blue flags. Is the American flag still acceptable? I’m guessing not considering one flew out of the back of the vehicle in from of us and as we stopped to pick it up a car swerved to run it over, flipped us off and honked while passing us. So I ask, who is the agitator? If you are looking for division and racism look no further than your own article.

    1. 100% truth, thank you for the comment. Trump gear is now “white supremacy insignia”??? There in lies the problem. So wrong.

  5. I used to be a democrat….as a matter of fact I was raised in a democratic household. Of course that all changed about 12 years ago. I am now a proud republican and this article is the main reason why. I have never seen such hate mongering and victimization as I do with the left. It is what is killing our country. Nevada County is not predominately white because we are racist nor are republicans racist. The left call us that because they cant think of anything better to come at us with then to play the race card…its reminds me of children having temper tantrums.
    The republican party is about working hard for what you want, having a sense of pride in our country and pro constitution. What I have seen lately makes me sick. It makes me ashamed of our country….people demanding that they get what they want or they destroy everything around them. We have people burning the flag, burning bibles, looting, setting buildings on fire and demanding the murder of law enforcement and for what? All in the name of someone who died of a fentanyl overdose and another criminal holding a knife while going for a gun.
    BLM an organization that should be deemed domestic terrorists is backed by the democrats. Do you want to know why? Because they think they can manipulate black people into doing their dirty work and so far its working. How is that not racist? To equate the back the blue and the American flag with white supremacy is part of your victimization and its a lie. To like our president means we are racist? Well I would’ve agreed completely with you if we were speaking about Obama because he race baited more than any other president I’ve ever seen. What racist thing has Trump done? He isn’t calling for the murders of a specific group of people such as BLM are. Lets also not forget that after the civil war it was the democrats that created the KKK. No wonder they are so quick to support the destruction of history.
    Love wins? You stand with a group of people that believe in murdering cops. That’s love? You stand with a group of people that believe that its ok to kill unborn babies. That’s love? You stand with a group that sets peoples businesses on fire that support not only their families but their communities. That’s love? You stand with a group of people that accost people with different views than theirs, scream in their faces and throw things at them. That’s love? You stand with a group of people that block cars, pulls people from them and beat them severely. That’s love?
    I could go on and on but you wont get the point either way. You are too busy hating people that don’t agree with you 100%. I wish I could say that I respect your opinion but when it comes with all the above mentioned loving acts but I don’t. The hatred you are seeing from people on the right is because of those exact things. It doesn’t have to do with race. It has to do with respect, morals and values. The tolerant left is far beyond tolerant. I see no love. Only hate and destruction.

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