On Saturday night I had the pleasure of attending a great event for Strike Out Slavery at the Angel’s game – it’s a movement to end human trafficking and modern slavery. 

During the post-game concert Lauryn Hill spoke up for the dignity of all people and the responsibility to help the most vulnerable. The Orange County crowd cheered her on as she called for the end of modern slavery. 

Little did I know that just the next day reports would begin to surface of multiple incidents at Friday’s San Clemente High School football game that show us we have yet to fully deal with the slavery of our past which is so deeply embedded in our country’s history. 

According to the NAACP of San Diego, students from Lincoln High School’s cheer squad have reported that were called names – including racial epithets and the n-word – by San Clemente fans, both young and old. The targeted students left the game, presumably to avoid more of the same. 

Currently both schools have launched investigations into these events. While we don’t know the outcome of these investigations, we appreciate that both schools are taking this seriously. 

Regardless of the findings, I hope we can all agree that behavior of this kind is not acceptable at any place, at any time. Our county cannot thrive if we harbor and tolerate racism and white supremacy. The ability of our region to support families, provide good jobs and schools and safe neighborhoods will not withstand the exodus of people who are made to feel unwelcome. More importantly, our collective conscious calls on us to make sure that all people are safe and respected while in our home. As the Principal of Lincoln High School shared in her online statement, “We expect our students and staff to stand up against racism and hatred when we see it, and it’s up to us responsible adults in the community to do the same.”  

There have been multiple incidents linked to high school students in Orange County this year that have shown that racism, anti-Semitism and bigotry are a part of our county. It’s time that we all make the effort to face this. When we acknowledge this is happening, we can work to understand who it impacts and how and then we can change it.  

Orange County, do not stick your head in the sand. Believe that we can do better and fight to be more than the hate that swastikas and racial slurs bring to our home. 

We wish all involved a swift investigation so that both communities can decide how to proceed. At OC Human Relations, we are here to offer our expertise in educating, supporting and finding the right accountability for this incident as the facts become known. If you were at the game and have information to offer, please contact San Clemente High School at [email protected] or Lincoln High School at [email protected]  

In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about how we are fighting hate, please join us for the release of the 2018 OC Hate Crime Report. Find all the information and RSVP to attend here

Ali Edwards, CEO 

OC Human Relations 

#kNOwHate #hatefreeoc #weareoneoc