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Bruce's Beach Task Force Members Named

Oct 21, 2020 02:39PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
At its Tuesday night meeting, the Manhattan Beach City Council made its final selections for the Bruce's Beach Task Force.

The task force membership is made up of residents of Manhattan Beach. The roster is as follows:

Co-Chairs: Councilmember Hildy Stern and Councilmember Steve Napolitano

Seat No. 1: Allison Hales

Seat No. 2: Anthony Lee

Seat No. 3: Isla Garraway

Seat No. 4: Lindsey Fox

Seat No. 5: Taylor Gamble

Seat No. 6: Amanda Park

Seat No. 7: Stephanie Caridad

Seat No. 8: Kristin Long Drew

Seat No. 9: Tyler St. Bernard

Seat No. 10: Lana Rizika

Seat No. 11: Kristi Ramirez-Knowles

Seat No. 12: Michael Jenkins

Seat No. 13: Jarett Margolis

Alternate Seat No. 1: Eyana Carballo

Alternate Seat No. 2: Laura Kainsinger

This ad hoc task force will be charged with making recommendations to the City Council regarding the recognition of the history of Bruce's Beach.

Councilmembers agreed on Tuesday night to add the two alternates to the list. These alternates must attend the meetings and be able to step in if a member is not able to fulfill his or her duty on the task force. They will not have a vote unless they are officially called upon to replace one of the task force members.

Formation of Bruce's Beach Task Force

Following a summer of controversy surrounding Bruce's Beach, the Manhattan Beach City Council agreed to form the task force to look at new ways to recognize and commemorate  Bruce's Beach park.

The task force will have four months to come up with a proposal for a new form of recognition or action. Some items that have been proposed include a plaque or some other commemorative display, scholarships, parks and recreation programs, or other actions to recognize what happened 100 years ago to make a difference in the lives of African Americans today. 

The panel will then submit its final plan to the council. If there is a new plaque or display, it will be funded through the city's Public Art Trust Fund, not through the General Fund budget.

After that job is complete, the city will decide if the task force will address additional issues of equity and race in Manhattan Beach.

More than 80 residents had applied to be on the task force.

"It was such an amazing outpouring of interest and support," Councilmember Hildy Stern, the task force co-chair, said at the meeting. "This is such a hard decision with 80 people letting us know how much they were interested and how much passion they have for this."

To those who had wanted to be involved but were not named to the commission, Mayor Richard Montgomery had this message: "Hang in for next year." There will be more opportunities for the public to be involved in the future, he added.

The story of Bruce's Beach dates back to the early 1900s, when Charles and Willa Bruce built a popular beach resort for African Americans in Manhattan Beach. By the end of the 1920s, with pressure from community members who did not want African Americans in the town, Manhattan Beach's Board of Trustees (a precursor to the modern city council) claimed the land under eminent domain and displaced the Bruce family as well as other families who had settled in the area.

It was not until 2006 that the city publicly acknowledged this chapter of its history by naming the area Bruce's Beach, and it was not until the summer of 2020 that a movement began growing for the city to take further action to recognize the Bruces.

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