Idaho Dispatch

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Op-Ed: People of color ROAST city councilwoman Lisa Sanchez at town hall

By • July 12, 2020

City Councilwoman Lisa Sanchez, who has been under fire recently for several abrasive public comments, which some say are overtly racist, shocked viewers and attendees alike at the town hall hosted by “Inclusive Idaho” on Friday.

Inclusive Idaho is a new group of mostly BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color), allies and members of the Black Lives Matter movement. In attendance was Mayor Lauren McLean, Boise City Council members Holli Woodings, Elaine Clegg and Lisa Sanchez, as well as Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee and Deputy Chief Ron Winegar. Speakers discussed policing and community resources, such as access to mental health.

We already know that Lisa Sanchez routinely notes that she is the only person of color on the Boise City Council. She constantly reminds everyone how important she is and claims she is the only voice for people of color.

Sanchez’s comments on Friday evening show the truth: that she demeans and talks down to every group of people, no matter the color of their skin. As an answer to nearly every question, Sanchez centered everything around herself, how much a victim she is, and how hard it is to be her. Her social media pages show that she thrives on receiving pity and apologies from white people for their privilege.

While inserting several comments about her victimhood in several “spaces” throughout her life at the town hall, Councilwoman Sanchez:

  • Told the crowd of BIPOC that their confusion with different governmental entities is due to their lack of education.
  • Told the crowd of BIPOC that it is “boring” to “learn this stuff,” but it wouldn’t be so hard for them “if our education system was better.”
  • Said, “The Idaho Legislature has a lot of power and they’re scary.”
  • Claimed the Idaho State Legislature has created “hateful” legislation.
  • Told the Police Chief and Deputy Chief that she is afraid and does not feel safe.
  • Said the city council has not given her a “warm welcome” and she is “not included.”
  • Said she has no training.
  • She said she “does not know how that’s done,” regarding questions of how to provide funding for community needs like mental health resources.

Two speakers chided Sanchez for her comments. One BIPOC speaker said, “Sanchez, you said that you were committed to learning, and I think we are all committed to learning. But I don’t want you committed to learn. There are people who are not learning. There are people who get this. And I really welcome you to make space for them because this is not a time where we have the luxury of waiting to learn and waiting for the luxury of the capacity to learn.”

Even more disturbing was a Q&A exchange between Sanchez and a black student at BSU. The young man discussed the concept of “defunding police,” and suggested taking money from police and using them for categories which have low funding, such as education. Sanchez responded by condescendingly telling the young man that he is uneducated in civics. She patronized the crowd and said:

“It is boring, you guys. It’s boring to learn this stuff, but it’s how you get this change happening. Us coming together, this is wonderful, but the education we talked about, we are last in education. It means that our students don’t know civics. They don’t know how our community is run: the specifics about how legislation works, how budgets work. And that’s what we need.”

The man responded, appropriately, “Let me make sure I understood you, I need to make sure I wasn’t trippin’… The way it came off by saying we didn’t understand… that represented the lack of education we have, that was the counter to me asking for more money to help the education.”

Lisa Sanchez does not represent people of color. She doesn’t represent the citizens of Boise. She is consistently racist and self-serving. It’s time for a change in the Boise City Council.


Note: We received a message from Black Lives Matter – Boise who said that they do not have any affiliation with the group “Inclusive Idaho” which put on this particular event.

This op-ed was submitted by an individual who wished to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions with the work.

Tags: BIPOC, Boise, Lauren McLean, Lisa Sanchez, Racist