From: "Andrew Phelps" <>


Subject: [S-ACC] dialogue upgrade experience

Date: Friday, July 15, 2016 6:02 PM



I attended yesterday an event in San Jose, CA - "this time .. We Are Standing Together" which to me is a continuation of many years of grassroots advocacy to help upgrade police and community relations. Specifically, I'm a long-time activist with the Coalition for Justice and Accountability (CJA) which was one of (many) cosponsors of the event.

In 2003 a Vietnamese woman Bich Cau Tran was shot dead by a San Jose policeman Chad Marshall: She was a mental health client and she picked up an Asian vegetable peeler in her own kitchen. We found that the "culture change" involved in engaging the institutional racism faced by the Vietnamese- American community required persistence and extensive advocacy.

We spent years developing a dialogue structure for the multicultural community, including electing the first Vietnamese person to the City Council and getting $1.8M for the children of Cau Tran, by court settlement. Now, last nite, the dialogue was led by an Afro-American pastor and included "Black Lives Matter" activists and Eddie Garcia, the new S.J. Chief of Police.

What I'm reaching for is an argument that in our "madness" we develop insight and learn to work to change the dialogue habits of the top-down "behavior management" system. That means we have acquired something to teach about "getting the ducks in line" - and what I saw was an instance of where our people are able to contribute based on our lived experience, in areas where others are currently in the process of learning.