SJ's Indigenous community hopes roundtable will find solutions for their high murder rate

Murder is the third leading cause of death for indigenous women and California has the sixth highest death rate.

Dustin Dorsey Image
Wednesday, May 22, 2024
SJ's Indigenous community wants solutions for their high murder rate
San Jose's Indigenous people are hoping a roundtable discussion will find solutions as the community is facing a high murder rate.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The Indigenous community of the South Bay say they have been facing issues due to their race for decades, with no social justice to be seen.

Their voices were the first to be heard in the state of California.

Now, our Indigenous community fears they are being silenced and their culture is disappearing.

"This is about sadness," San Jose Unified School District Trustee Teresa Castellanos said. "This is about grief. This is about being made invisible for over 532 years in the continent that you are native of."

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No more missing and murdered Indigenous people - that's the message said loud and proud outside of San Jose City Hall.

They say they are still here, but the community's population is dwindling.

Despite only making up 2% of the country's population, the Urban Indian Health Institute found the murder rate for indigenous women is 10 times higher than the national average. Murder is the third leading cause of death for indigenous women and California has the sixth highest death rate of Indigenous women in urban areas.

There are just a few struggles this group says they've dealt with for centuries.

"The indifference of law enforcement in the courts, erasure from social data collection and the media, ignorance and racism within our health and human services," Red Earth Women's Society member Elisa Marina Alvarado said.

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They want something to be done and it starts here in the South Bay.

At 5:30 p.m. Friday at City Hall, Councilmember Peter Ortiz and other policy makers will take part in a panel discussion to learn how this community can be best supported.

"Do we know if the city of San Jose is a safe place for Indigenous people?" Alvarado asked during a press conference on Tuesday. "Do we know that the family of the missing will receive support they need - that there will be timely response by the police?"

"We should not have questions unanswered and individuals who go missing without a direct response from the city," Ortiz said. "As a councilmember here, it's my job to make sure that happens and also to amplify the voices of the indigenous community."

All in the hopes of assuring this community is safe for all generations to come.

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