The Temecula City Council has voted not to declare federally recognized heritage months such as Asian American and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Month and Black History Month. While diversity advocates argue these declarations serve educational and inclusive purposes, the council’s majority said they are exclusionary and elevate some groups over others.
Conservative firebrand Jessica Alexander led the vote. She was joined by James Stewart and Brenden Kalfus in voting to steer clear of the declarations.
“Why, again, are we elevating one (group) over the other?” Alexander asked. “Maybe these types of cultural proclamations would be a wonderful place for the [Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion] Commission. That way we don’t get somebody saying, ‘Well you’re elevating this group, and not this group.’”
Alexander had previously condemned an LGBTQ pride proclamation for defying God’s “creative order.”
Councilmember Curtis Brown and Mayor Zak Schwank defended the declarations.
“I don’t see it as an elevation above one person. It’s important that we not send a message to all the proclamation recipients that they are somehow less than,” said Schwank.
With Tuesday’s 3-2 vote, the declaration of commemorative months celebrating cultural and racial diversity will be left up to the city’s diversity commission.