Pandemic, Racism: Riverside County Officials Prepare To Listen

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CA — The Riverside County Board of Supervisors is set to hold a series of three listening sessions for the community to share their personal experiences stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, as well as their lived experiences with systemic racism and social injustice.

The sessions will be used to guide county services and budget priorities, including public safety, behavioral health and social services, officials said.

“We have heard from the public loud and clear that they seek to have a voice in the county’s budgeting process, including how to further fund social services,” said Board Chair V. Manuel Perez, Fourth District Supervisor. “We have also heard loud and clear that the public seeks to have a voice in how our county will fight against systemic racism. The listening sessions will allow for an inclusionary process and that is why I wholeheartedly agree.”

As part of the process, the county is partnering with the School of Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside to prepare a report identifying and discussing the main, recurring themes and topics emerging from the listening sessions.

The report will be used to inform county officials as they shape the county’s organization, budget and services for the next year and beyond.

“Our school is excited to work with the County of Riverside on this important and timely initiative,” said Anil Deolalikar, founding dean of the UCR School of Public Policy. “Our public policy faculty and students, who already partner extensively with county agencies on several policy initiatives, look forward to further engagement as the county develops informed policy solutions to the multiple crises now confronting our region.”

The three listening sessions are scheduled at the County Administrative Center, 4080 Lemon Street, in Riverside on the following dates/times:

—Tuesday, Sept. 29, 1:30 – 5:30 p.m. (start time may be delayed based on end time of regularly scheduled board meeting)

—Tuesday, Oct. 6, 5:30 – 8 p.m.

—Saturday, Oct. 24, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

The listening sessions will also be livestreamed from the Clerk of the Board’s Facebook page or RivCo TV livestream. To provide comments virtually, any member of the public may do so by registering 24 hours in advance at the Clerk of the Board’s website at: Additional instructions will then be provided. Community members can also submit comments for the listening sessions by emailing the Clerk of the Board at

For those who want to attend in person at the County Administrative Center, parking is available in the public parking structure in front of the building for a fee. Additional street parking or in-structure parking is available in the downtown area for posted fees.

After the three listening sessions are completed, the board will discuss next steps during its Nov. 10 regularly scheduled board meeting.

The board unanimously approved the series of listening sessions on Aug. 4, the same day it approved a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis.

This article originally appeared on the Murrieta Patch