Lee Eng’s ‘false claims’ validate fear
I made the decision to write this letter after watching footage from a recent Los Altos City Council meeting that I found disturbing, regarding a council leader making false claims of “threats” made against her and her family. The “threat” in question was a text sent by a Black male activist from our community questioning Councilwoman Lynette Lee Eng’s abstention from voting on a council decision.
I’m a senior at Los Altos High School, proud to be part of a community that turned out over 4,000 people to march in solidarity against racial injustice. It saddens me that despite this unity, we will elect or re-elect officials who perpetuate racism.
We simply cannot be a city where a young Black man is not permitted to disagree or challenge someone’s line of reasoning, particularly elected officials or city employees, without that being deemed as physically threatening.
City council members may disregard commission recommendations, force resignations of city employees, but are they empowered to discredit the work of volunteers advocating for racial justice in our town? Lee Eng felt called out by a Black man for a decision she made without offering an explanation. The platform we give Lee Eng enabled her to make a misguided public accusation, but not without consequences.
When young Black men are being shot and killed for refusing to turn down their music at a gas station (Jordan Davis), or jogging in a gated community (Ahmaud Arbery), I tell myself that would never happen here. This situation between our city official and a young Black man matters because it validates fear unfairly. Our town’s leadership needs to address the claims made by Lee Eng, apologize and put these false rumors to rest.
I want to leave for college in the fall feeling proud of Los Altos, like I was seeing so many people participate in the Black Lives Matter marches and the reforms being brought forward.