A reckoning with historical wrongs in 2021—and new a space to celebrate cultural heritage and diversity

January 11, 2022

The City of Hayward acknowledged historical wrongs and celebrated its cultural heritage in 2021 with an apology for its past role in racial discrimination and with the opening of the new Heritage Plaza across from the new downtown public library.

On Nov. 18, the City Council approved a resolution apologizing to Black, Indigenous, Californio, Mexicano, Latino, Latinx and other community members of color for racially disparate impacts and inequities resulting from and perpetuated by past city policy and decision-making.  The intent of the resolution was not to absolve but rather to formally acknowledge the existence of institutionalized racial bias and racism and the role municipal government has played in its creation and legacy of inequities and disparate impacts.

In particular, the resolution cites past City, real estate and banking industry participation in the discriminatory practice of redlining, which prevented black, indigenous and people of color from owning property within Hayward limits.  The resolution also cited Hayward’s participation in federally sponsored urban renewal initiatives, which frequently resulted in the mass displacement and dislocation without fair compensation of largely Black households, neighborhoods and entire communities across the country during the 1960s and 1970s.

The new Heritage Plaza, formally opened with a community celebration July 17, is and will be home to an increasing array of interpretive signs and art pieces speakinig to Hayward’s diverse cultures and cultural histories from the Muwekma Ohlone through the World War II experience of interned Japanese-Americans to today.

To read more about the apology resolution and associated policy and programmatic recommendations from the Hayward Community Services Commission, go online here to the City’s legislative website.  To read the news release about the resolution, click here.  To learn more about Heritage Plaza, check out the Heritage Plaza project page here on the City of Hayward website.

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