Meet SM Police Chief; SURJ Meeting on Racial Justice

Here are two messages about meetings from our friends at Showing Up for Racial Justice -- Santa Maria (SURJ-SM):

Thursday, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m.

Meet and Greet with new Santa Maria Police Chief Mark Schneider. Santa Maria Councilmember Gloria Soto will be hosting a virtual Q&A live at For people living in Santa Maria, this important event provides an opportunity to learn what issues Chief Schneider will focus on and how he plans to lead the Santa Maria Police Department into the future.

Because SURJ's General Membership meeting was scheduled for the same time, it will be cancelled. SURJ members and others interested in racial justice are encouraged to watch this event or to spend some time reading or watching something related to anti-racism, white privilege or white supremacy.

One recommendation is to watch the latest program from SURJ National, “White Backlash: Why It Happens and How To Fight Back”with Dr. Robin DG Kelley. Deepening understanding of these patterns in our country’s history is essential to building effective strategies to address racism today.

White Backlash: why it happens and how we fight back - Zoom


Thursday, Feb. 4 at 6:30pm

How does the justice system work? Who does it work for? Does the justice system treat all Americans equally?

SURJ-SM is partnering with the Racial Justice Committee (RJC) of the Santa Barbara Public Defender's Office to offer some answers to these questions. To participate in this free webinar, register at this link: 

Adrian Galvan and Maria Martino co-founded the Racial Justice Committee within the Santa Barbara County Public Defender’s Office. The RJC was founded in the summer of 2020, soon after the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

At this event, RJC members will discuss all aspects of the justice system, including pre-trial detention, arraignment and bail, how prosecutors make charging decisions, and how those decisions affect the procedures that influence trials, convictions, and sentencing. “As public defenders,” Galvan notes, “we are daily witnesses to the impact that racism has on communities of color. We want to build bridges to those who are fighting for racial equity.”

Why is this important to anti-racists? Public defenders see a lot of the racial bias that members of the public don’t see. Journalists may report on arrests and police violence, but what happens after that? Not everyone gets their day in court.

We don’t even know what we don’t know--and that lack of knowledge is a kind of privilege that others can’t afford. People who get caught up in the justice system--and their families--need all of us to be more knowledgeable if we want to see meaningful reforms in the institutions that govern us.

Whether you’ve never been involved in the criminal justice system or have first-hand knowledge, this free webinar will offer vital information. Sign up here -- -- and the Zoom link will be sent to you. Questions? Please contact us at [email protected].

Pam, Sara, and Audy
Showing Up for Racial Justice -- Santa Maria (SURJ-SM)