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...
“Get out of here with that jive talk.”
My former neighbor’s and my apartments were so far apart that we had separate stairs to our units.  The only thing that connected us was a long walkway, but we never had reason to cross each other’s doorsteps.

One afternoon, my older son and one of his buddies came by to visit. Let’s call the friend “Noah”.  Not that I have to qualify Noah or any black person AT ALL, but because it’s important to the story, I’ll share that he was/is a smart, accomplished, polite, tender-hearted, guy, eager to share stories about juggling his work on the Obama campaign, schoolwork, his girlfriend, etc.

At one point during our visit, Noah stepped outside to take a phone call from his girlfriend. After a few minutes, he came back inside, clearly shaken up. He shared what happened: my neighbor was entering his apartment, but when he saw Noah, he walked all the way over to my apartment and confronted him in the middle of his phone conversation.
My neighbor didn’t introduce himself. Instead, he demanded to know what Noah was doing there. Noah, being Noah, introduced himself, reached out to shake my neighbor’s hand, and addressed him with “Sir”, which he always does with older people.

My neighbor’s response to the word “Sir” was to ignore Noah’s handshake, point toward the street, and tell Noah to “get out of here with that jive talk.”

Fortunately, it wasn’t Noah’s style to confront him. Instead, he came inside, told me what happened, and I went to speak to my neighbor. I won’t go into all of the details, other than to say he spewed that phrase “jive talk” again. 

-- Marissa Land
“He searched me up and down to the point I felt violated.”
My friends and I were at a house party behaving like the high-schoolers that we were. A neighbor came over and told us the party was too loud and that the police were on the way. One of my friends (a white guy)  and I decided we should start walking home before the police arrived. My friend was taking awhile, but I was nervous so I told him I’d wait for him outside. 

While I waited, the police pulled up. I explained that my friend was on his way out and that we were going home. He questioned me for a couple of minutes until my friend came outside. He then began to question both of us, but he only made me give my ID, asked me if I had drugs, and then he searched me up and down to the point I felt violated. He didn’t search my white friend or ask for his ID. Then he let us go on our way without even issuing a citation. 


“I’ve been embarrassed for our town.”
I am an Asian professional living in El Segundo for 20 years. I have never been pulled over by the police, though I'm sure I've sped. My best friend is African American and has gotten pulled over in our town multiple times for no apparent reason. He's been told he's rolled through a stop or some other type of violation which he is particularly careful not to do just because he knows they're trying to find a reason to pull him over. I've been embarrassed for our town and have considered going to the police department and giving his license plate # to tell them to stop pulling him over, but worried he'd be more of a target.

He's been questioned because he pulled over to text or use his phone the way we are supposed to do. Even sitting in his vehicle talking before I've gotten out of the car, the police have driven by, looked in the car, turned around and shined their bright light in the car to see who was inside or what was going on. That's never happened to me on my own.

--Michelle S.