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To: Mayor Richard Montgomery and the Manhattan Beach City Council

Justice for the Bruce Family

Justice for the Bruce Family

In response to their recent acknowledgement that the city of Manhattan Beach unjustly forced the Bruce family off their land and out of their business under the threat of racist violence during the Jim Crow era, we demand that Mayor Montgomery and the Manhattan Beach City Council:

Provide Restoration and Restitution to the Bruce family for forcing them off their land:
-Restore the land to the Bruce family
-Provide restitution for loss of revenue for the past 95 years.
-Pay monetary damages for the violation of Charles and Willa Bruce’s civil rights.

Provide Reparations for the Black and Indigenous residents of Manhattan Beach:
-We demand the city pay reparations to Black and Indigenous residents of Manhattan Beach by partnering with Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) of Los Angeles County and other coastal cities to provide affordable homeownership opportunities for Black and Indigenous families who wish to live in the community. Specifically, Black and Indigenous individuals and families who are low to moderate income should be eligible for downpayment and closing cost assistance funding to facilitate affordable homeownership opportunities.

Tell the Truth:
-Revise the text on the Plaque at Bruce’s Beach.
-Create educational programs within the community and in schools that tell the truth about Manhattan Beach’s racist past and the KKK’s involvement in forcing the Bruces and other Black people out of Manhattan Beach.

Why is this important?

Manhattan Beach owes the Bruce family much more than an apology. Once the owners of one of the few thriving beach resorts that Black Angelenos were allowed to patronize in the early 1900s, Willa and Charles Bruce were not only subjected to escalating racist attacks from the city’s local Klu Klux Klan, but were eventually forced off their land by Manhattan Beach’s own Board of Trustees. Although the Board of Trustees claimed at the time that they needed the land to build a park, we know the real reason the Bruces lost their land. From Tulsa to Forsyth County, Black people’s attempts to build economic security for themselves in this country have been haunted by white terrorist violence. The land that the Bruces were forced off is no different, and represents just a tiny fraction of the nearly 11 million acres of land that Black people once had, but lost, due to fraud, deception and outright violence during the Jim Crow era. Now, after a recent acknowledgment from the Manhattan Beach City Council of the injustice the Bruce family has faced at the hands of the city for generations, some residents are proposing that a boutique hotel be constructed on the land as a form of restitution. That’s not right. That’s why Justice for Bruce's Beach is partnering with Black Lives Matter to let Manhattan Beach City Council know that if they want to rectify the harms of the past, they must meet the full demands of Manhattan Beach’s Black residents for restoration, restitution and reparations today.

The Bruces’ land and business should have been the foundation of their family’s ability to build wealth, and to take care of themselves and each other. Instead, it became a source of riches for others. Not only did the city of Manhattan Beach take the Bruces’ land in order to preserve the neighborhood’s whiteness, but they vastly underpaid them and other Black property owners like them for the value of the land and the businesses that were taken from them. Today, with Manhattan Beach’s inflated and unaffordable housing, Black people make up just about 0.8% of the city’s population. That’s why the proposals for the construction of a boutique hotel that will likely remain out of the reach of most of its Black residents as a form of restitution for the city’s history of violence is a slap in the face. The fact is, Manhattan Beach won't be able to make amends for its racist past without restoring the land back to the Bruces, paying the Bruces restitution and paying reparations to its Black residents for blatantly discriminating against our community and making it impossible for us to own land in the area. Now more than ever, institutions like the Manhattan Beach City Council need to make good on their commitment to Black communities, and we’re starting by demanding that they meet our residents’ full demands for restoration restitution and reparations today.

As protests against police violence continue, more and more institutions are coming out with statements to denounce racism. Many of those institutions are the exact same ones who have orchestrated the erosion of Black wealth and property for decades, if not centuries. Sign now to let Manhattan Beach City Council that fighting for racial justice is so much more than an anti-racism statement. It requires dedication and action behind those words. Declaring support of Black people isn’t enough and task forces and modified street signs won’t pacify us. If the city council truly believes Black lives matter, it must meet the full demands of its Black and Indigenous constituents for restoration, restitution and reparations in Manhattan Beach immediately.

Thank you,
Kavon Ward
Founder, Justice for Bruce's Beach

Chief Duane ‘Yellow Feather’
Spokesman and Historian for The Bruce Family

Patrisse Cullors
Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter

Manhattan Beach, CA 90266, USA

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL


Reasons for signing

  • I’m a Bruce
  • The Bruce Family deserves more than an apology. They deserve justice. This is just one example institutional racism affecting the emotional and economic well-being of African Americans AFTER slavery. This is why we protest.
  • It was a civil rights violation to take this property. Putting up a plaque was a shallow self serving acknowledgment. Make the apology real and pay the heirs their due.

Updates

2020-08-31 17:24:28 -0700

5,000 signatures reached

2020-08-27 12:09:47 -0700

1,000 signatures reached

2020-08-26 19:12:25 -0700

500 signatures reached

2020-08-26 13:40:24 -0700

100 signatures reached

2020-08-26 13:20:20 -0700

50 signatures reached

2020-08-26 10:57:36 -0700

25 signatures reached

2020-08-26 09:28:42 -0700

10 signatures reached