June 2, 2020

Supervisor Katie Rice 

June 2, 2020


At today’s Board of Supervisors meeting, we opened with comments and reflection on the moment in American society we are living today. Our vulnerabilities and our strengths are on full display. History presses hard on the present. The future is ours to chart. I share my comments below and invite you to share your thoughts at our next community Zoom, this Thursday, June 4 at 5 p.m. Instructions for joining at the end of this newsletter.


Katie Rice Signature


We are living in incredibly challenging times.


Two crises, one a viral pandemic plaguing the world, the other a centuries old societal sickness particular to America. Over this past week the two have collided, their harsh truths resonating throughout every community including ours.


COVID-19, here in Marin and across the nation, is hitting hardest those who are most vulnerable, older people, people with underlying medical conditions. It is also disproportionately infecting those who are least able to safely shelter in place, least able to miss a paycheck, least able to avoid putting themselves in harm’s way. People who lack access to adequate health care, healthy housing, nutrition, clean air, green space, good schools, a promising future. 


Those who are most at risk in our county and country are most often people of color.


It seems no coincidence, or rather some horrible aligning of truths, that the last words of George Floyd “I can’t breathe” reflect the most crippling symptom of COVID-19 -- suffocating from within/ the inability to breathe. “I can’t breathe,” a physical reality and cause of death for George Floyd; an apt metaphor for the experience of living in America as a person of color.


Poverty, injustice, inequality, the daily stress of being black, brown, of color in a society built by and for white people is suffocating.


I am struck, cannot get the image out of my mind of George Floyd, a black man, his airway cut-off by the knee and weight of a white man, not much different in form or result than a hanging. We have all seen it. In an excruciating unedited eight minute long video, we clearly see life being crushed out of George Floyd, as clearly as we can see the sense of power, ownership, and right to dominate in the face and body of Floyd’s executioner. 


People in poverty are disproportionately people of color -- here in Marin and throughout the nation. Their lives informed and formed by systemic, structural racism that reverberates and permeates in subtle and not so subtle ways going back decades, centuries. People of color here in Marin, as across America, live in a society that historically and to this day favors white and wealthy. COVID hits people of color the hardest. COVID, which has as its most crippling symptom, the inability to breathe. 


This past weekend in cities around the country, people from all walks of life, of different race and background, age and income, gathered in protest, in solidarity, in acknowledgment of the injustice and racism, and inequality that persists in this nation. Wearing masks to protect from COVID-19, they cried out, “We Can’t Breathe!”


People of color haven’t been able to breathe deeply, freely for generations. 


We are living in incredibly challenging times. Important times. If there was ever a time that we needed to come together, to show respect and compassion for each other, to stand up for what is right, to take on the challenges we face together – disease of the body, and disease of our society’s soul -- it is now.


In this time of COVID, we have become more aware than ever of our shared humanity, our responsibility to each other, our vulnerability as individuals and as a society. The events of the past week, the deaths of three black Americans at the hands of people entrusted to protect, remind us again of our long history of racial inequality, injustice and the struggle that black Americans, communities of color, have had to endure.


It is this same awareness of our responsibility to each other, our enhanced sense of the importance of connectedness, our collective vulnerability, that we must draw on as we take on this challenge of race, and inequity, and injustice in our own community.


We are not Minneapolis, or Louisville, Kentucky, or Brunswick, Georgia. But racism, inequality, the long-lived effects of policy, and law, and power in the hands of one race, at the expense of another has roots deep in our community and continues to exhibit itself on the deeds of our homes, in the complexion of our neighborhoods, in the trajectory of our children through school and life.


Let us use this time of COVID, these tragic events, to take a hard look at our own lives, our neighborhoods, our community; let us acknowledge the advantages and disadvantages that have come with the color of our skin. Let us talk with our families and friends about the role of race in our lives, in our communities, engage each other in conversation about inequality, injustice. Let us act in our personal and professional lives, with our heightened sense of connectedness and awareness of our responsibility to and for each other, to advance equity, opportunity, for all in our own community and beyond.


Zoom Instructions:

In order to join Thursday’s meeting, save the information below and click on the link at 5.



Password: 972236


Or iPhone one-tap : US: +16699006833,,95736610086#,,#,972236# or +13462487799,,95736610086#,,#,972236#

Or Telephone:

Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

US: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 929 205 6099 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 301 715 8592

Webinar ID: 957 3661 0086

Password: 972236


Contact Info:

Supervisor Katie Rice





District 2 Aides:

Nancy Vernon



Jen Gauna