Even A Kind Heart Can Deceive

By Karen Laslo and Lin Jensen

Dr. Lesa Johnson’s talk Sunday night at the 36th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration held in the sanctuary of Trinity United Methodist Church was titled “A Kind-hearted Deceit.” And its message may well have caused many of those present to squirm uncomfortably in their church pew seats, especially the white folks. In her talk, Johnson told the racially diverse audience to look deep into their own hearts and to question what they’ve done to alleviate the suffering of not just black people but all people of color. Again and again, she hammered home the point that it isn’t enough to simply be against racial injustice no matter how genuinely wholehearted your commitment to fairness and racial inclusion. Just having the right thoughts will make no real difference. Instead, you must first listen attentively to those among you who most suffer the injustice, for they alone can tell you what’s needed and what actions you can undertake. And then you must act; complacency will never effect change. Professor Johnson left no doubt that without a genuine understanding of the nature of the suffering and without actually doing something to alleviate the suffering, you are simply engaging in a “kind-hearted deceit.”

CSUC Sociology Professor Lesa Johnson.


Co-hosts, Kesha and Pastor Vince Haynie, Rhema Word of Faith.


Black National Anthem, all sing, led by Cara Lamumba.


MLK Community Celebration dinner in the church Social Hall.




Four “Trumpettes” Cancel All Proclamations and They Don’t Want to Hear Another Word About It!

Occasionally, a Chico city council meeting will begin with a proclamation brought to the public by a local non-profit agency, such as the Catalyst Domestic Violence Services. In the past, it has been the honor and privilege of the mayor to publicly recognize the non-profit group and to read the proclamation aloud for all to hear. An example of a proclamation was the “Trans Week of Resilience Proclamation” presented by Stonewall Alliance and the Gender and Sexual Equity Center at CSUC and read by Mayor Sean Morgan at the November 7, 2017 Chico City Council meeting. See agenda Item 1.6 at the following link: http://chicoca.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=695&meta_id=56826).

Mayor Sean Morgan

However, that was the last proclamation ever to be heard at a Chico City Council meeting – at least while the four Republican “Trumpettes,” Morgan, Fillmer, Sorenson, and Coolidge have the majority on the Chico City Council. Unknown to the rest of us, Mayor Sean Morgan decided, unilaterally and without consulting other city council members, to not allow any more proclamations to be presented and read at city council meetings. Why would he do that? Morgan’s cancellation coming on the heels of his reading of the “Trans Week of Resilience Proclamation” suggests that he may have objected to the proclamation and rather than have to read another of that sort, simply did away with all proclamations, and because discriminating between proclamations on the basis of gender, race, or ethnicity would be unlawful, it was necessary to accept all proclamations or none. Morgan chose “none.”  The pity of all this is that proclamations take up little time and honor the good work these local non-profits do for our community.

But that’s not the end of the story. At the January 2, 2018 City Council meeting Councilor Ann Schwab asked that the proclamation process be put on the agenda for discussion at a future city council meeting (see Ann’s letter here Item 6.2.B http://chico-ca.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=702). Councilor Schwab’s request was met with true Trumpette form: All three conservatives (Mayor Morgan was absent) voted to not put the subject on the agenda, which means there won’t even be a discussion about future proclamations. So that’s it people – no more proclamations. But the good news is that these three Republican conservatives, Reanette Fillmer, Mark Sorensen and Andrew Coolidge are all up for re-election in November 2018.

Vote ’em out!

Reanette Fillmer

Mark Sorensen

Andrew Coolridge