“Love Walk” fills the streets of downtown Grass Valley

“A racial incident in downtown Grass Valley this week — where slurs were shouted at a Nevada Union High School student as he walked down Mill Street, according to his father on Facebook — has concerned local residents, including the Nevada Union High principal, and it is being held up as a teachable moment,” as Sierra Foothills Report reported, adding “There is also an informal downtown Grass Valley walk taking shape for 5 p.m. on Friday, as a way for people to show their support for this family.”

On Friday night, Facebook was lit up with “citizen journalist” reports of the “love walk,” which drew hundreds and hundreds of locals. This photo is from Debbie Lange’s Facebook page. “Today in my town ❤️❤️❤️,” she wrote.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

23 thoughts on ““Love Walk” fills the streets of downtown Grass Valley”

  1. I think it is fantastic that so many people showed up to clearly state that they oppose acts of intolerance in the community and stand with the victims of hateful rhetoric or actions. That is a very good thing.

    I think we need to start talking about just how and why we got where we are today.

    Why is the environment ripe for people who believe that acts of hate will be accepted in our society? We really do need to stand up like Grass valley did to say we will not normalize intolerance.

    Was it the gradual coarsening of civic culture and political discourse? Was it the decline in teaching civics and the values of democratic governance in our schools? Was it the influence of media fragmentation and acceptance of hateful rhetoric in the alternative media? Was it our stubborn refusal as a society to teach and understand history and our peculiar racial and ethnic history in the USA?

    Is racial and ethnic intolerance, religious intolerance, intolerance toward people of different sexual orientations, a symptom of a larger dynamic, the decline of a sense of security in modern society, a sense of dispossession, and loss of control of our future as individuals and collectively? I certainly could point to more than a few sociologists who see the rise in intolerance and the decline in economic and cultural security as intrinsically linked.

    It seems too simple to say, “Trump” and point to leadership as the cause, as responsible for unleashing acceptance of intolerance and hate speech. The intolerance existed before Trump and if anything he is a symptom of the larger dynamic, not it’s cause, although I agree every time he uses hate and intolerance as a political tool, as he did this morning regarding Puerto Rico., he must be called on it and held responsible.

    It’s no mistake that Trump’s attack on the Mayor of San Juan this morning was directed at a woman of color–it is dog whistle to his base–he is saying “women of color from some island that we barely realize is part of the United States, they are not part of us, the ‘real Americans,’ they are the ‘others’–lazy, whiney, brown people looking for a handout.” They sure as hell ain’t Texans.

    A nagging part of me agrees with some on the right that the lefts intolerance of unpopular speech plays into this problem. We give people like Anne Coulter, Milo Yiannopoulos, Richard Spencer and Steve Bannon exactly what they want when the protest against intolerance and/or peaceful civil disobedience turns into violence and confrontation–we become the dog whistle, we are manipulated into BEING the dog whistle, and that is exactly what they want. We are lulled into mirroring their behavior.

    I am becoming increasingly convinced that at the root of the problem of the division growing in the US is economic inequality and loss of soical mobility, but coupled to that is our loss of ability to internalize other peoples pain, sorrow, suffering, circumstances, and needs, or even revel in their accomplishments, in other words, empathy.

    When and how did we stop understanding another person’s condition from their perspective? When did we begin to lose the ability to place ourselves in another person’s shoes and feel what they are feeling? Is there a decline in empathy?

    We know from behavioral research that acting with empathy increases pro-social (helping) behaviors. We also know from research that American culture might be socializing people into becoming more individualistic and identifying with groups rather than a common set of ethical values. Social scientists at the University of Michigan have ranked common values expressed by students in the US and empathy has been on the decline for decades. We know from social science and biology that “mirror neurons,” which react to emotions expressed by others and then reproduce them, exist. A mirror neuron, observed primarily in primate species, is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when it observes the same action performed by another. The neuron mirrors the behavior of the other as though the observers were acting themselves.

    The thing I like about the Grass Valley event is that it was an act of empathy, not necessarily an act of cultural, racial, ethnic, or any other ‘group’ identity.

    (And I find it ironic that the same old voices in our community are now parroting the critique that the march was an ‘all white march for diversity.’ They miss the fundamental point, that empathy is the transcendence of identity to rise to a higher set of common ethical values.)

    In the end I suspect that rather than a political movement overcoming prejudice, racism, bigotry and intolerance, it will be a moral movement, an ethical movement, a re-adoption of what was once a common part of the worlds main religions, but is also a basic tenant of western secular philosophy and eastern mysticism, that we must increase our capacity for and action reflecting empathy.

    Empathy is tough. It requires actual practice—mind work—and behavioral change. It is hard to be quiet inside and out, to be fully present and fully watch and listen to what others are saying, to sort ones own emotional response to another’s view from the empirical or logical, to share ones own views honestly, to give recognition to people who may be accomplished in one area but intolerant in another, to truly and honestly test your own beliefs, especially if tested you find them wanting.

    Kudos to Grass Valley for an act of empathy.

  2. Steve wrote,
    (And I find it ironic that the same old voices in our community are now parroting the critique that the march was an ‘all white march for diversity.’ They miss the fundamental point, that empathy is the transcendence of identity to rise to a higher set of common ethical values.)

    Steve,
    Those “old voices” on George “Raghead” Rebane’s blog are “outliers.” Totally irrelevant. That came through loud and clear at yesterday’s “Love March.” This blog received 3,000 page views yesterday. Ask George Rebane or “Sierra Dragon’s Breathe” (sic) how many page views they received. ROFLOL.

  3. Here’s another clueless dude on Rebane’s blog:
    “Did I read also that they are contemplating eliminating the deductions for local property tax deduction and the state and local income tax paid? If so, living in California, Illinois, or New York all of the sudden does not seem so fiscally appetizing… Posted by: Barry Pruett | 30 September 2017 at 10:27 AM”
    You wonder why he came here in the first place. Oh, that’s right.

  4. Grass Valley Mayor, Howard Levine there, speaking….just days after the death of his wife?!? Inspiring! Amazing!! Leadership!

  5. Yes, it is amazing. “People of color” are blacks or Hispanics. When this happens to Asians (my son), you just get crickets. I complained to NU three years ago and have had to spend $21k and transportation costs (about $300/mo). So not only do I pay a disproportionate amount of property tax, and you disproportionate disproportionate amount of building fees for schools, but my son could not safely attend public school. Tired of this racial crap on both sides.

  6. The problem, in my opinion, is the domination of our political system by the modern day robber barons who use their money to elect politicians and own/support media outlets and personalities who support uber-wealthy political and social beliefs. In other words, the seeming loss of power. While this is nothing new in American politics, what is new is the ungodly amounts of money now being dumped into politics via Citizens United. This money even gets down to local/regional elections through local party organizations and off-party organizations like the Tea Party. The wealthy, as trump has aptly demonstrated, have been raised (mostly by nannies and boarding schools) with the attitude that their money gives them the right to dictate social values; all self-serving, of course.

    The loss of empathy is part of that equation in the sense that it is difficult, even for functional sociopaths like trump, to in relish their own greed without divesting that guilt by shaming ‘welfare queens’ and other ‘takers’ when, in fact, it is the wealthy themselves who take the most from government, society, and the environment. The rhetoric is all geared to divide and conquer and when corporations are people and money is free speech, those with the most money have the most speech and are, thus, able to steer public discourse in directions that suit their agenda best.

    Why all of this all of a sudden? Climate change! Their portfolios will be decimated if the fossil fuels have to stay in the ground. Like the loss of slaves threatened the economic viability of wealthy southerners, the loss of fossil fuel investments threatens many of the modern wealthy class. It is not a coincidence that race is being used as a wedge. This is the Civil War redux.

    1. I agree with your analysis Joe, I am simply saying that once the ‘divide and conquer’ strategy using race as a wedge has been deployed all of the logic and data in the world is not going to penetrate the mind of the person who has become a racial divider.

      We see that in the comments on both Todd Juvinall’s and George Rebanes blogs today. They are practically doing back flips to make a ‘danger’ out of Grass Valley’s example of a social good.

      I love how George Rebane just creates new terms to create an “alternative” vision of whatever the hell is happening today…it is almost as though he was schooled somewhere on the effective use of propganda….today’s is “racialism” to counter the term racist.

      “Racialism – the ideology, based on a heightened consciousness of the race of others, that promotes racial divisions and strife to hasten the breakdown of large sovereign nation-states on the road to a unified global world order.”

      The racist bullhockey is just dripping from that one.

      1. “heightened consciousness of the race of others…” implying that the ‘racialist’ is some kind of busy body who percieves others only through their race….without acknowledging that perhaps the person in question may have lived a life where their worth is judged partly by race and the social positions available to them institutionally inhibited. If you have a consciousness of your own race or express concern about prejudice….welll then you are just as bad as a racist….you are a “racialist.”

      2. “…that promotes racial division and strife to hasten the breakdown of large sovereign nationa states…” I wonder what ‘large sovereign nation state’ George is referring to? Oh, it could be the United States….so you Mr. Racialist, you….you are not just expressing concern over prejudice, you are working to destroy our nation…and thus you are somehow unpatriotic.

      3. “…on the road to a unified global world order…” Mr. Racialist, your goal is not equity or fairness, or adherence to our constitutional principles, or even just a better life for your children…it is obvious you are part of a secret cabal of the globalist elite hell bent on ushering in an authoritarian state that will wipe our individual origins and cultures from our brains and make us somnambulant slaves.

      Never mind about racism people…..there is a bigger problem to address here….globalism!

      OK, now that we have that clear….you are a racialist if you even bring up anything having to do with race, and you are JUST AS BAD as a racist, and should be ignored, or painted as a liberal elite trying to steal my prescious white culture.

      Ray Shine nailed it. Why is it so hard for people to just say, “Hey, those stupid teenagers who yelled racist nonsense at that kid were wrong and perhaps we should just all stand up together and say so, so they know we love them and want them in our community.”

  7. Todd Juvinall and another one of his trolls are having a hard time addressing Ray Shine’s question to Todd on his “blog.” Go figure!

    Todd,
    You said “Locally in our little town, we saw some of the antics of fools this last week. A young man who is black was harassed by some white men in a car on Mill Street. He and his father and mother were rightly outraged. So am I. But to me, it is the action of some crumbums and not the community as a whole. This county is 95% white and many marched in support of the family and against the antics of the fools. To me we need to isolate the bigots and racists and kick their asses out. There is no place for that behavior here or anywhere. But it will happen when people have those prejudices.”

    I agree with you. Unfortunately, Friday’s “love walk” could have started to change some attitudes in Nevada County, but it was not very politically diverse. It would have been better if more people in the center and right had been there. From my viewpoint there were very few of those of us on that side present.
    Ray Shine

    Todd Juvinall — October 1, 2017 at 12:29 PM
    Conservatives have never been much of a marching protest group. So that would not surprise me. Did you ask all the participants their political bent? If not, how do you know?

    Anonymous — October 1, 2017 at 1:37 PM
    Cynics want to label any gathering a political gathering as an excuse to start spouting their beliefs. I agree on the scumbag punk bullying by using racial slurs. We have so few people of color in this area, I thought the gathering was more a show of support for the boy, father, and anyone else who has been harassed by local punk asses (for whatever reason). It was just as much an anti-bullying rally as some sort of Black lives matter get together.

  8. And this gem from Todd:

    “I have received a communication from a person who thinks the incident on Mill Street is BS. The parents are BLM and Kapernick fans. Hmmm.

    Posted by: Todd Juvinall | 01 October 2017 at 04:06 PM”

    Wow, how official sounding 🙂 Hmmm.

    1. Todd is struggling (again). He writes on his blog:

      “Todd Juvinall — October 1, 2017 at 2:03 PM
      Pelline needs to return to Marin where the other liberal dirtbags will welcome a fellow traveler.”

      Then five minutes later, he blurts out:
      “Todd Juvinall — October 1, 2017 at 2:08 PM
      I attended a gathering of folks last night to meet (Sheriff candidate) Smethers and his wife. Nice people. And some of us got into a discussion about this incident with the black kid and the rats calling him names. It was a vivid memory of a couple of past NU footballer players about their travels to Grant. Some were afraid to exit the bus as they were surrounded and called names. Hmmm. I guess it goes both ways.”

      You go Todd!

      1. I find this post from Todd Juvinall extremely, extremely, extremely disturbing!! I played baseball with Bill Smethers from middle school through high school (Bill is two years younger than me, so he was on JV’s when I was on Varsity. I began coaching after while Bill finished his high school career.) I went on to coach until the late 90’s.

        I would say our experience with Grant High School has been exemplary. For the past 40 years, I am unaware of a single incident, in any sport, at any time, participant or fan, that there has been any problem between the two communities. I attribute that to the coaches; Grant coaches Mike Alberghini and Rich Edwards; NU coaches Randy Blankenship, Dave Humphers, Hank Davidson, Mike Cartan and Brian Bishop. In recent years, we’ve had positive experiences at Grant with AAU basketball and volleyball.

        For Bill to “reminisce” about “travels to Grant” is a revisionist memory that questions his ability to be a Law Enforcement Officer, or Todd is making it up. When it comes to stories about Grant v. NU, I find most are told by bigots that never played and weren’t there.

      2. Chris and Steve,
        Sure enough! All hat and no cattle.
        “Todd Juvinall October 1, 2017 at 10:52 PM
        Oh, I think it was widely reported but I cannot recall when.”

  9. I went back and read Rebane’s bull poop on “racialism.” An unintended consequence of this “Love March” in GV is to show how irrelevant the Rebane/Juvinall mindset has become. YouGotSteamrolled.com

  10. As for the Sheriff’s race, the fact that Juvinall was invited to a Smether’s “garden party” speaks volumes to this campaign. I predict Foster will win handily. And Smethers has no one to blame but himself for somehow thinking Juvinall is a local ‘thought leader.” ROFLOL!

  11. And then this comment appears on Todd’s blog:
    “Anonymous — October 1, 2017 at 7:44 PM
    Diversity is being able to shoot a Glock 23 right handed or left handed and hit the target.”

  12. This is from Todd’s blog. This “anonymous” troll has a big mouth but is afraid to sign his name! I’d be glad to debate this fool, but I don’t even know who he is. lol.
    “Anonymous October 1, 2017 at 8:03 PM
    I know Bill Smethers and he is one of the best or the best law enforcement officers I have ever met. I personally would campaign and volunteer for free as Mr. Smethers is head and shoulders above the other candidates. Pelline’s choice is one of diversity and not the most qualified. You can tell a liberal but you can’t tell them much. I would love to debate Mr. Pelline personally, as he is assuredly a Haughty Toad.”

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