Around Town | September 3, 2021 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - September 3, 2021

Around Town

TAKING A STAND ... Community members came together Aug. 29 for a multifaith solidarity prayer vigil outside First United Methodist Church where they stood up for the Rev. Debra Murray, who recently experienced a series of hate incidents. Some brought homemade signs, including ones that read "Surround the city with light and love." Two weeks earlier, Murray, senior pastor at the church, was threatened because of her Black Lives Matter sign and leadership, according to an event flyer. Murray declined to describe the incidents in further detail to this news organization because she didn't want the incidents to receive further public attention. Other incidents have been directed at Black Lives Matter and Black religious leaders, people in the community and houses of worship in the Palo Alto area, according to the flyer. Many local faith leaders also have signaled their support of the initiative by signing an open letter expressing commitment to the community to help it "transform histories of division and discrimination into deep connection and solidarity. While religious leaders are not all of the same mind on how to approach issues of racial injustice, we are all deeply angered and saddened by these events and stand in solidarity with our Black siblings in Palo Alto. Many of us are strong supporters of Black Lives Matter," the letter states. The letter's authors also stated that recent hate crimes build on "a long-standing pattern of racial hate and exclusion directed at people of color in Palo Alto. "We unequivocally condemn all acts of emotional, institutional or physical violence directed at any member of the African American or Asian American communities in Palo Alto. We reject false narratives about the dangers of BLM and all attempts to pit people of color against one another in our ongoing commitment to antiracism." As of Aug. 30, the letter had 37 signatures.

A NEW LEADER ... Stanford has ended its nationwide search for the new faculty director of its Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, the university announced this week. The School of Humanities and Sciences has appointed Lerone Martin to the role, according to an Aug. 30 Stanford News Service article. He will serve as associate professor of religious studies and the Martin Luther King Jr. centennial professor starting this January. Martin has his work cut out for him at the institute. He'll continue editing the civil rights leader's sermons, published writings, correspondence and unpublished papers, among other tasks, according to the article. He will succeed Clayborne Carson, the institute's founding director who retired last year after more than four decades in the position. Since retiring in 2020, Carson has led the institute as its acting director. "It is such an honor to succeed Dr. Clayborne Carson as the MLK Centennial Chair and Director of the MLK Research and Education Institute," Martin said in the article. "I hope to build on the tremendous accomplishments of Dr. Carson and the staff."

ENOUGH TO GO AROUND ... Joint Venture Silicon Valley's first food recovery program has received $250,000 to help launch the initiative across Santa Clara County. The funds were awarded by the Implementation Committee of the Recycling and Waste Reduction Commission of Santa Clara County, according to an Aug. 26 press release. The funds will assist Joint Venture in pushing out food recovery requirements under Senate Bill 1333, which directs certain businesses to donate surplus food. The organization also has received $50,000 for a capacity analysis of how the county currently recovers food. "Recovering excess food is one of the most cost-effective ways to fight climate change," Executive Director Robin Franz Martin said in the release. "The health benefits are two-fold: We feed our Silicon Valley neighbors with nutritious surplus meals and reduce greenhouse gases by keeping organics out of the waste stream." Another $25,000 from the LendLease Foundation will help Joint Venture connect food recovery organizations to local businesses.

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