Rivals unite to help end racism in East County
The headlines, local and national, have put the city of Santee in the spotlight in the battle over racism over the years and twice in the span of one month back in May.
Former West Hills athlete Alana Ethridge and former Santana athlete Tasha Cassidy, grew up togehter but attended rival high schools, however both wanted to see change in their city so the two came together to put Santee in a different light, organizing a peaceful protest in their city.
“We want piece in unity in Santee and we want the black voices in Santee to be heard and that is not going to happen if there is continued stigma of Santee being racist and talk of KKK hoodies and wipes and all of that. its obviously horrific to see that in your own town, but if our voices are louder than that then we are going to get our message across and we’re going to bring even more diversity to Santee.” Alana explains.
Alana and Tasha knew if they wanted to be heard they needed to organize this protest right, so the two met with Councilman Rob McNelis, “we communicated with him and told him what we wanted to do and he was fully on board and loved to hear about our experiences and was very open to it. I think it was very successful and peaceful and that its exactly what we wanted” said Alana.
“I’ve experienced racism here that is been apart of my life. As a mom I was more like ‘Oh I’m doing this so much for my son’ but then after to see how much we affected other people, black, white, Mexican all across the board and have them reach out to us and feel connected and to feel and to know ‘Hey I was nervous before but now like to see it the way you guys did’ it that was exactly what we wanted to come across and it was really rewarding for both of us” Tasha explained.
West Hills and Satana have have always been big rivals. In reality, most of that is for fun and games, but when a real life issue comes into play, there’s no time to take high school sides. The Wolf Pack and the Sultans unite as one.
“That is the thing about Santee like we were rivals, it was known on the field when we started and that is apart of the passion about the game. There has been people on my team that I wasn’t best friends with but we are both trying to win so like to come together like same with different races different ethnicity and different cultures and different religions to all come together just to hear a new point of view I mean that is the goal that is a win for me”, said Tasha.
Alana added, “I think this is the first game but we have a whole season ahead of us. We have a lot of fight in us and have a big job head of us so we are excited to make change in out community.”