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Letter from Chief Executive Officer, Omar Carrera

August 28, 2020

In response to recent actions that some describe as racial profiling and racially motivated by police officers in Tiburon, California, Canal Alliance stands behind its values of inclusion, safety, and mutual respect to support Tiburon business owners, Yema Khalif and Hawi Awash.

Racial discrimination and racism in Marin County are real problems that must be addressed and condemned.

Canal Alliance is responding to a video, posted on Instagram on August 21st, showing Tiburon police officer supervising Sgt. Michael Blasi, confronting the two co-owners of the action fashion wear boutique YEMA at 10 Main St., Tiburon. Khalif and Awash had returned to their store after-hours to work on some newly-arrived inventory. YEMA is the only black-owned clothing store in Tiburon and was named May 2020 Business of the Month by the Tiburon Chamber of Commerce. The retail enterprise donates 20 percent of each sale to help young people in Africa escape poverty through education. 

Canal Alliance stands in solidarity with and support of the owners of YEMA. We demand that the Tiburon City Council and the Belvedere City Council take immediate action to ensure that these shameful actions are not repeated.

Some describe the confrontation as racial profiling and define the police officers’ actions as racially motivated. In a news article published on August 25, 2020, by KTVU.com, Awash was quoted, “We’ve gotten support and love and people speaking up to say this is not right, this is wrong,” said Awash. “Working while black is not a crime, and many people are standing with us, and that’s the conversation we need to have, let’s change the perspective.”

This incident calls into question what else is in the backgrounds of other officers and the Chief of Police. In addition to taking immediate action, it is imperative that long-standing and systemic problems with law enforcement are also addressed. To this end, Canal Alliance demands local police departments implement procedures to conduct comprehensive background searches revealing violence and racism before entrusting our residents and visitors to police officers with guns and unmitigated power. We need to hold the town councils of Tiburon and Belvedere accountable for hiring police officers who do not have violent or racist pasts, work on setting the culture of respect in the local police forces, and provide training to help officers work without racism and violence.

Watch the video: https://www.instagram.com/p/CEKwyUrJIdl/

Read more: https://www.thearknewspaper.com/single-post/2020/08/24/Store-owners-Late-night-encounter-with-Tiburon-cops-was-racially-motivated

https://www.ktvu.com/news/tiburon-police-accused-of-racial-profiling-towns-black-owned-business-owners.amp

In solidarity,

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