City of San Jose shows solidarity with 'Black Lives Matter' banners

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo announces the unveiling of 13 Black Lives Matter banners located around City Hall Plaza. Photo courtesy Bay City News

The City of San Jose Thursday took a step to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement on Thursday morning.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo was on hand for the unveiling of a B.L.M banner in the rotunda at City Hall, a nod to the movement sweeping the country since the killing of "George Floyd" at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

“This is the beginning of a very important process,” Liccardo said during a press conference. “(It) requires a commitment to take action, actions that will guarantee in fact, in concrete ways what our 14th amendment has long promised, which is equal protection under the law to all Americans.”

The B.L.M banner and those hung from light poles that city on roads around city hall were designed by Cherise Orange, owner of the marketing company, "You Just Got Oranged."

She says being part of this project was much more than just a business partnership.

“I think it goes back just from the city stating that Black lives do matter and making that statement and also putting action into that statement,” she said.

Circumstances leading to the San Jose unveiling go back to June when the city council approved a resolution to address issues important to the movement, which include reviewing law enforcement policies with police and dismantling biased systems that hurt communities of color.

“It's not just a statement from Black Americans that live within the city that our lives matter, but it's actually the city itself saying Black Lives Matter.

Earlier this year, there were calls to defund the San Jose Police Department, but the city council decided instead to create the Office of Racial Equity.

Part of its purpose is to "eradicate any structural or institutional racism" within the city government and work with the police department to "reimagine community safety."

Other cities such as Oakland have unveiled signs painted on the street, but what San Jose is doing is part of a newer trend where local leaders are weaving initiatives expressed by the movement into the fabric of governance.

The San Francisco Police Department did something similar back in August when Chief of Police William Scott unveiled posters that have been placed in stations around the city after police commissioners voted unanimously to require such banners on station walls, part of a larger effort to show that the department is addressing initiatives of concern the movement.