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History of Black Santa Monica

This past July, Black community members came together to create the Black Agenda and proposed initiatives needed to address racial inequality within Santa Monica. On September 8, 2020 the Black Agenda presented their recommendations to the The City Council of Santa Monica. Upon review, The City agreed to provide seed funding to the Santa Monica Black Lives Association (SMBLA), a nonprofit entity that would take the lead on these initiatives.

Nine members from the Black Agenda came together to form the Steering Committee for SMBLA: Barry Snell, Keith Coleman, Kera Blades, Karen Gunn, Nat Trives, Robbie Jones, Rana Kirkland, Angela Scott, and Ericka Lesley. In order to fulfill the requirements for a non-profit organization, the Steering Committee had to create a Board of Directors for SMBLA. Each Steering Committee member was asked to bring forth names of nominees, including their own if they were interested. Nine members were chosen from the nominees, including the two members of the Steering Committee who expressed interest: Barry Snell, Keith Coleman, Dr. Debra Myers, Brenda Suttonwills, Juanita Palacios-Sims, Erika Mitchell, Jonathon Gregory, Jennell Maze, and Julie Rusk.