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By Tim Donohue                               Follow East Palo Alto Today on
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Posted on Sunday, March 11, 2012    
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at 8:52 p.m.


We are inviting everyone who cares about people to attend our peaceful demonstration on Wednesday, March 21 at 1 p.m. at Bell Street Park in East Palo Alto. - Tim Donohue

There are serious, long-term problems in San Mateo
County regarding racism. Let’s look at the facts. The
African-American population of East Palo Alto was 61 percent in 1980, according to the U.S. Census. However,
by 2010, this figure had dropped to 16 percent. Why are
so many African-Americans leaving this city and San Mateo County? There are a number of reasons and that is why we are protesting.

The students in the Ravenswood School District score about half the state average on reading and math tests. Students in Woodside, Foster City, Hillsborough, cities in this same county, score well above the state average. Are we revisiting the old South where the “separate but equal” philosophy ruled the day? However, it’s “separate and unequal” here in San Mateo County.

The problem with poor schools, of course, leads to adults with sub-par job skills. The unemployment rate in East Palo Alto is 22 percent. The state average is under 11 percent. These figures are starting to look extremely repressing.

Consequently, East Palo Alto is suffering the highest foreclosure rate in San Mateo County. And there seems to be no help on the horizon from many African Americans who have lost their homes.

We also have a legal system in San Mateo County where African-Americans have had problems with court-appointed attorneys who often just show up to court hearings. Thus, these defendants are averaging longer jail sentences.

This has created a cycle of racism that has convinced many African-Americans that they would be better off living outside of San Mateo County. We are protesting this racism on Wednesday, March 21st at 1 p.m. at Bell Street Park in East Palo Alto and we hope you will join us.


To contact the author of this article, Tim Donohue, email epatoday@epatoday.org.


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