Coronado man who brought tortillas speaks out, asserts he had no racist motives

CORONADO (KUSI) – On Saturday, after Orange Glen High’s predominantly Latino team lost to largely white Coronado High in overtime, some members of the crowd threw tortillas at Orange Glen athletes.

The incident has drawn censure from across California and additional responses at a special Thursday evening meeting of the Escondido Union High School District’s board. The board called the meeting in order to take up a resolution denouncing racism and racial discrimination, and affirming its support for equity, safety and the well-being of all students.

Escondido Union High School District passed a resolution denouncing racism, racial discrimination, and support for equity, safety, and well-being of all students.

Furthermore, some Democrat San Diego lawmakers, State Sen. Ben Hueso and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, have called on the California Interscholastic Federation to revoke Coronado High’s regional basketball championship in response to community members throwing tortillas at the largely Latino opposing team as outrage continued Thursday over the incident.

State Sen. Ben Hueso wrote a letter to CIF saying the “intentional act was designed to be racist and should not now, nor ever, be tolerated.” Hueso continued, “The CIF cannot let any more time go by without acting. It must quash this behavior loudly and definitively to prevent future racist acts. There is no better way for the CIF to teach student athletes the consequences of racism than by stripping them of their team title.”

But, the man who brought the tortilla, Luke Serna, shared his side of the story with KUSI’s Hunter Sowards because he feels the school board is withholding his perspective.

Serna graduated from Coronado High School in 1999, and then from UCSB, where tortilla tosses were a celebratory thing, like they are at many other major universities across the country. Students use tortilla because they are cheap, easy to throw like frisbees, and can easily be snuck into the stadiums and arenas.

Serna supplied the Coronado School Board a statement of fact before their Tuesday meeting, assuming they would read it as part of public comment and settle the whole controversy right then and there. But, they didn’t acknowledge or publicly release any of the information he provided to them.

Once their Tuesday meeting concluded and his information was not read to the public, Serna first took to Twitter to admit he brought the tortillas as a “strictly wanting to help the team celebrate if they won.” In another tweet, Serna said his statement of fact “should have been read by the school board yesterday, but they seemed to feel the need to withhold it.”

Serna told KUSI’s Hunter Sowards that his determination, “was that they wanted to censor his statement from being heard, in order to cover themselves from accountability for creation of this issue, into a racial issue, rather than getting to the truth of what really happened.”

The Coronado School District has not responded to KUSI about why they decided to withhold Serna’s statement of fact.

RELATED STORY: CIF awaiting investigation results of basketball championship discrimination incident

Categories: California News, Local San Diego News, Politics