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County Human Relations Commission To Meet In Response To Controversial Basketball Game

Demonstrators outside Coronado High School calling for the California Interscholastic Federation to revoke Coronado High's regional basketball championship, June 23, 2021.
Roland Lizarondo
Demonstrators outside Coronado High School calling for the California Interscholastic Federation to revoke Coronado High's regional basketball championship, June 23, 2021.

The county's Human Relations Commission announced Friday that it will hold a special meeting next week in response to outrage over tortillas being flung at a largely Latino team after it lost a championship basketball game at Coronado High School.

The 27-member commission, named for former county Supervisor Leon L. Williams, will meet at 5 p.m. Monday via Zoom. More information on the meeting is available on its website.

Last 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. In a statement, Human Relations Commission said it "is concerned and seriously disturbed following reports of recent hate incidents associated with the recent athletic event between Orange Glen High School and Coronado High School this past Saturday ... and the related characterizations.

"The HRC stands in solidarity with our community against bias, bigotry and racism, and will continue to monitor the next steps taken by the Coronado District and the CIF office in the best interest of our county youth and our community," the commission statement reads.

RELATED: Individual Comes Forward Claiming ‘I Brought The Tortillas To The Game’

State Sen. Ben Hueso (D-Chula Vista) on Thursday called on the California Interscholastic Federation to revoke Coronado High's regional basketball championship in response to the tortilla-throwing incident.

"This intentional act was designed to be racist and should not now, nor ever, be tolerated," Hueso wrote in a letter to the sports federation's executive director and the leaders of its San Diego chapter. "Failure to impose swift and appropriate justice will become a tacit endorsement of the act itself by the CIF and violate CIF's own principles of ethical character-building for student-athletes."

The CIF on Thursday released its second statement regarding the incident, saying it was awaiting results of investigations by organizations that were involved.

"Upon receipt and review of the schools' and/or school districts' information, and further inquiry from this office if needed, the CIF will then determine what action is appropriate," the CIF statement reads. "The CIF is in the process of concluding our review, and unless circumstances dictate otherwise, we anticipate issuing the ruling of the CIF executive director during the upcoming week."

Leticia Cazares, president of the Governing Board at Southwestern College, issued a statement Thursday, saying, `What transpired around the Coronado vs. Orange Glen varsity boys basketball game ... is an incident that we unequivocally condemn. Hateful actions that demean and dehumanize, intentional or not, should not be tolerated in any educational institution.

"This hurtful act affected the entire community and has illuminated the deep work that still needs to be done in diversity, equity and inclusion," she said. "We are committed to this work as a board and we applaud the swift action of the Coronado Unified School District in recognizing that change begins with accountability."

The incident has drawn censure from across California and locally. The Escondido Union High School District board, at a special meeting on Thursday, passed a resolution denouncing racism and racial discrimination, and affirming its support for equity, safety and well-being of all students.