SEA Change Community Service Scholarship
Through this scholarship, SEA Change seeks to empower and support student leaders in furthering their education so that they can continue to have positive impacts in their community.  This year, one (1) SEA Change Community Service Scholarship in the amount of $1,500 will be awarded to an ESUSD high school senior who has demonstrated exemplary leadership and dedication by positively impacting people, communities, and/or the environment through community service in the greater Los Angeles area during the student’s high school career.

Each applicant must demonstrate: (1) a record of significant community service in the greater Los Angeles area during high school, (2) a current unweighted 2.5 GPA, and (3) the intent to enroll in a program to continue their education (e.g., 2-year college, 4-year college, or vocational school) by or before the 2024 fall semester.  SEA Change welcomes and encourages applications from all eligible high school seniors, including applicants of all races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and interests.  The scholarship award will be paid directly to the recipient.

To apply for the SEA Change Community Service Scholarship, all of the following must be emailed (in one submission) to on or before May 16 at 5:00PM under the subject line “2022 SEAChange Scholarship [Your Name]”

1. Personal statement describing the applicant’s community service in the greater Los Angeles area during high school and the ways in which the applicant has made a positive impact on people, communities, and/or the environment.  Please also include an explanation about what motivates the applicant’s community service and how the applicant plans to continue community service work in the future. 

2. Statement of Future Education Plans:  Please include a short statement describing the applicant’s plans to enroll in an accredited educational institution before the 2024 fall semester, including the name of the school, degree program (if applicable), intended enrollment date, and any other available details.  If the applicant does not plan to enroll for the 2022 fall semester, please briefly explain the reason for the postponement.

3. Documentation confirming the applicant’s community service work. For example, a signed and dated confirmation letter from the applicable nonprofit organization or from an impacted community member.

4. Applicant’s high school transcript.

5. List of names and contact information for at least two personal references.  At least one of the references must be an adult and neither reference may be a person who is related to the applicant, including through an in-law relationship.SEA Change reserves the right to request additional information to verify the applicant’s community service and to contact the applicant’s references.  Applications should be submitted as a whole package rather than piecemeal. All documents should be submitted as a PDF or Word document.    
DEI Committee Presents Public Safety Report to City
The Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee presented their report to El Segundo City Council last Tuesday (2/1), regarding their analysis of the El Segundo Police and Fire Departments. There was a slide presentation that included some of the methodology and statistics regarding personnel, hiring policies, UoF (use of force), arrests, sensitivity training, etc.

In this message, we focus on how the DEI’s presentation to the City reported on the police department. It’s not that we aren’t concerned by the alarming lack of diversity within the fire department at large which the Committee made clear, but we feel the El Segundo community has been more directly and negatively impacted by the police department, so we’re advocating for improvements there more strenuously.  
DEI Committee Presents Public Safety Report to City
While we are grateful for the time and energy the DEI committee puts into their work, we are extremely disappointed with their presentation last week. We could start by quibbling over the statistics, and especially hone in on the fact that much of the data included in the review of ESPD was provided by the department itself. ESPD not only controlled what numbers were provided, but also the context–or lack thereof–that was included in those numbers.

We find the idea that ESPD played a leading role–in what was supposed to be an objective review of the department–troublesome, and we question why resources were not provided for an external review of the department, but we’ll dig into that later. Right now, we want to focus on the far more problematic component to the DEI’s presentation: the blatant omission of community feedback.

El Segundo’s reputation as a community that unfairly polices minorities is rooted in a racist legacy that dates back to the City’s founding. Unfortunately, despite years of progress, recent incidents suggest that this reputation still suits our city. It is, therefore, totally inexcusable and unacceptable that the DEI committee did not include the stories from the very community they were appointed to serve. Over the last two years, BlPOC residents, students, employees, visitors, and commuters have courageously shared gut wrenching stories of mistreatment by ESPD.
We can’t quite figure out why a committee that was installed exactly 16 months ago failed to incorporate community feedback as part of its very first public safety report to the City Council. If the presentation had to be boiled down to one element, and one element only, community feedback would be that one.

To his credit, DEI Committee Chairperson Avery Smith, who presented on behalf of the Committee, acknowledged the importance of community feedback and the fact it was absent from their report, adding that the Committee planned to include it in the future. But not involving the public after nearly a year and a half of work is more than an unfortunate omission, it completely undermines the credibility of the presentation. Without community feedback, the presentation ultimately amounted to a big pat on the back for the police department. Is that “atta boy” deserved? We don’t know.
Black Woman Sues City & ESPD for Civil Rights Violations
But we do know from public comments made earlier that same evening at the same City Council meeting that there is an active civil rights lawsuit against the City of El Segundo and its police department.

In scathing detail, an attorney representing the plaintiff in the case walked the public through an outrageous instance of racial profiling, unlawful arrest, and false imprisonment that his client–a Black woman–experienced at the hands of ESPD after shopping here in town.
Should the plaintiff win, we residents will be left paying the bill. This civil rights case just further underscores our point that if we don’t take an honest look at our police department and make sure its practices and policies are in line with a fair and equitable society, there will be more (and potentially graver) consequences.

The DEI Committee was seemingly unaware of this incident. A committee who has consistently praised the transparency of ESPD should be appalled that the department neglected to share such consequential information with them. A dumbfounded Mayor Boyles admitted that even he was unaware of the active lawsuit. The Council had no further comment regarding this harrowing account of racial profiling. They did, however, have a lot to say about the DEI’s report.
Council Praises ESPD, Cautions Any Further Investigation
Councilmember Giroux, who last May relentlessly grilled DEI Committee Member Shad McFadden, then chairperson, over the Committee's goal to “atone for inequities and disparities'' in the community, calling atone a “trigger word,” spent his time this meeting questioning the Committee’s proposal to further evaluate ESPD. Giroux took specific issue regarding the Committee’s interest in investigating the glaring use of force disparity on people of color when compared to white people, and sought to dismiss the concern as just a “very small fraction” of all arrests. Giroux added that he was concerned about what the optics may look like if it were perceived that the Committee was trying to find a problem with ESPD.

Councilmember Nicol appreciated all their hard work but admonished the Committee for including analysis and interpretation in their own report. Nicol argued that the Committee should just let the data speak for itself. Yes, the same data provided by ESPD. But this is the same City Council member who once suggested police officers be issued flashcards of Black residents in El Segundo, so they can know for sure which Black people “belong” and which don’t—that way they wouldn’t mistakenly harass a Black person who actually lived in town... Councilmember Nicol is up for reelection in the fall.

Also up for reelection is Mayor Pro Tem Pimentel, who at one City Council meeting last year proposed ESPD go full-on police state and install “street blockade[s]” or “checkpoint[s]” to surveil residents and visitors for possible theft and other crimes as they travel about town. Pimentel had little to say in regards to the DEI’s review of ESPD, but his silence spoke volumes.

Councilmember Pirsztuk, whose family was implicated in a scandal removing pro-BLM flyers on Main Street back in 2020 said she looks forward to feedback from the community, and endorsed the DEI’s idea for future town hall meetings. Pirsztuk says she thinks ESPD's image will look even better as a result. We know you’ve listened to the stories from the community. But has Councilmember Pirsztuk?

Mayor Boyles reflected back on the time he attended a social justice demonstration in June of 2020 when he was asked about former President Obama’s Remaining Policing Pledge which called on mayors and local officials “to review and reform use of force policies, redefine public safety, and combat systemic racism within law enforcement.” Then while completely ignoring the disparity in use of force when applied to people of color that Chairperson Smith highlighted in the report, Boyles commended ESPD for what he considered to be relatively insignificant use of force numbers overall.
Responsibility Falls on Council
Again while we are disheartened with the DEI’s decision to deliver such an important presentation without including the most important element–community feedback–we cannot lay all the blame at their feet. We understand they are limited in what they can do and how they can do it.

We know the City Council has slowed their work. We know there are members of their own committee who are only interested in undermining their work. Plus we know that Council hasn't even bothered to replace the two Committee members who resigned last summer.

The DEI Committee, however, is uniquely positioned to make a difference in our City, and many people have been waiting for that. We implore the DEI Committee to keep pushing and be very careful not to allow themselves to become empty functionaries for a City Council that is more concerned with maintaining the status quo and creating the appearance that "everything’s just fine.”

We don’t want to be negative. We don’t want to look for something that isn’t there. We just want the truth. We want underrepresented voices to be heard. And we want a police department that works for and serves us all. From what we are seeing, from what the community is telling us that’s not yet the case. We have more work to do, and we cannot let up now.
DEI Committee to Meet Tomorrow
The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee will meet on Wednesday (tomorrow), February 9, at 4:30pm via Zoom. In one of the first orders of business, the Committee will recap and discuss last week’s Public Safety Report to Council. You can view the full agenda here.

Members of the Public may also provide comments electronically by sending an email to the following address, with a limit of 150 words and accepted up until 30 minutes prior to the meeting:

Show your support for positive change in our community by attending. Let the DEI Committee know that we are here, and we are counting on them to get the job done.

As always thank you for your continued support and for putting in the work with us!

In solidarity,
SEA Change
Indigenous Peoples' Day
Today we recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day. Please join us in honoring American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians who have built vibrant and diverse cultures — safeguarding land, language, spirit, knowledge, and tradition across the generations.

We celebrate their massive contributions to our community and ways of life, and we commit to supporting  a new, brighter future of promise and equity for Tribal Nations — a future grounded in Tribal sovereignty and respect for the human rights of Indigenous people in the Americas and around the world.

We also invite everyone to take a moment to look into the real history of the land you may call home.
No Room For Hate in ESUSD
We are aware of the school shooting threat made by a student from El Segundo Middle School in response to the formation of an LGBTQ+ support club at the school. We understand this incident is under investigation by both our school district and the police department. We call for appropriate transparency from both entities and that the necessary resources and services are provided to all students affected by or involved with this hateful threat.

It is disturbing incidents like these that tragically remind us just how much work still remains to ensure that all students in our community feel safe and welcome. Threats of this nature are never to be tolerated. Violence and hate have no place in our schools or our City.

We proudly stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community and their allies, especially those in El Segundo Middle School during these troubling times. Please know that we are here for you, and will help in any way we can.
POWERline Stories Launch
The stories below are first person accounts from people who have suffered or witnessed racism or bigotry in El Segundo. We share these stories to raise awareness and to support those who have had similar experiences. Most importantly we share these stories so we can address these issues. The first step to solving a problem, is to acknowledge there is one...
El Segundo Shows Its Pride
Happy National Pride Day!
Illuminating the City's iconic water tower in rainbow lights to celebrate Pride and the LGBTQ+ Community is a historic first for El Segundo. We're proud to have led the charge in making this happen and are so grateful for all the love, work, and support from our volunteers committed to making El Segundo a more welcoming place for all. Credit to the ES Public Works Department who did a fabulous job lighting up the tower. We hope this is the start of a new tradition for years to come! Happy Pride!