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Davis

Davis, California

Monday, June 10, 2024

A rainbow formed over Central Park as Davis community members rally in response to recent bomb threats that reportedly contained ‘anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric’

Activists, elected officials and residents came together to issue a joint statement

 

By MADELEINE YOUNG city@theaggie.org

 

On Oct. 10, in light of several bomb threats that contained hateful messaging made to Yolo County public institutions, including the Davis Library and Yolo County schools, the Davis Phoenix Coalition (DPC) alongside Yolo County public officials, teachers, city councilmembers and more joined together in Central Park to issue a joint letter that stated “Yolo County is for everyone.”

As each speaker took the stage, the crowd of over 100 people waved pride flags and signs reading “Davis is for everyone.” People in the crowd took photos and looked to the sky as a rainbow formed above those demonstrating. 

Protests against expressions of LGBTQIA+ Pride, such as rainbow flags in classrooms and rainbow crosswalks on streets, have been occurring for months, according to the joint letter. The city of Davis has experienced five bomb threats since late August, some of which contained anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric. The letter states that “extremists” have attacked Yolo County public institutions through their protests. 

“They have spread prejudiced disinformation about the LGBTQ community to arouse outrage,” the letter states. “They have deliberately courted attention from extremist media and, in the wake of this publicity, our library and schools have received multiple bomb threats, each accompanied by vicious anti-LGBTQ language. They claim to want to protect children, but instead, our children have been put in danger.”

State Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry spoke at the event about her pride in the Yolo County community despite the recent events.

“It worries me that there are people that have so much hate and so much prejudice, that they take it out on our community, putting fear into the lives of so many of our teachers, our librarians and ultimately our children,” Aguiar said. “The Yolo County I know is full of love. Davis is for everyone. Trans rights are human rights. These recent events do not reflect the Yolo County that I know.”

During the event, Kelly Wilkerson, a high school teacher and trustee for Yolo County community colleges, shared her experiences with having her information shared online. Wilkerson said that she had been doxxed by a local organization.

“I wanted to share with you what it’s like when a member of an extremist group [doxx’s] you, when they put your name and your face and your school location on social media [and] blast where thousands and even millions of people can see an out of context post,” Wilkerson said. “Then you pray. You pray that you and your family will be safe and you pray for your students’ safety. Ever since a tiny group of extremists have organized in Yolo County, I have not felt safe and many of my students no longer feel safe.”

Wilkerson continued by stating that these groups have held anti-transgender protests in front of Yolo County high schools, intentionally scheduled for lunchtime or at the end of the school day so students are forced to walk past them.

Congressperson Mike Thompson, who was not available to attend, prepared a statement that was shared by Yolo County Supervisor Lucas Frerichs.

“When we stand together as a united front we create a formidable barrier against divisive ideologies,” Frerichs said as he read Thompson’s statement. “Unity ensures that we foster strength through diversity and understanding. By building a sense of belonging and understanding among us we create an environment where extremist ideologies find no ground to grow. In unity we find strength and in resilience we find the power to overcome proving that together we can withstand any threat and build a safer, harmonious society. Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power. Thank you all for your work to stand up to the hatred and divisiveness and please know that I stand with you.”

Mayor Will Arnold was another one of the speakers and he encouraged the audience to shout the “Davis is for everyone” chant.

“Here in Davis, we are unwavering in our commitment to these principles. We refuse to let division poison our community and shatter our unity,” Arnold said. “We stand firm together as a beacon of hope, love and inclusivity and we stand united with those who are under attack and in defense of our students, our teachers and our entire community. I am so proud to stand here with you.”

 

Written by: Madeleine Youngcity@theaggie.org