Robinson: Outing our bigoted neighbors
The corner of North Santa Cruz Avenue and Main Street in Los Gatos. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

A group of racist and anti-LGBTQ neighbors in Los Gatos have unleashed their hate against Mayor Marico Sayoc and her family.  Such vitriol in the aftermath of the “Trump Era” is far too commonplace. Finally, we are seeing active pushback against this small-minded minority of bullies.

A group called the Goldbridge Institute has formed to out bigots in their own communities.

“The goal is to identify and isolate the disease and put these people back from under the rocks in which they sprang,” said Johnny Wang, executive director of the organization. “Too often the bigots find comfort in their anonymity on social media and in small crowds. No one takes them to task.”

Goldbridge wants to change that dynamic. Many of those who engage in this behavior feel free to do so because there are no consequences, as we have seen with the thousands who attacked the U.S. Capitol—but only 684 people have been charged with a crime. Moreover, most sentences upon conviction have been light and the main leader—former President Donald Trump—remains free to this day.

But Wang says the Goldbridge Institute will use its free speech rights to push back on hate, with the goal of providing consequences for those who engage in hate.

Which brings us to Cyndi Sheehan, a leader of the racist Los Gatos group and a proud Trump supporter who is associated with white supremacist groups, according to research Goldbridge has conducted. Sheehan is pictured smiling in photos with known leaders of the white racist group Rise Above Movement in an article detailing the links between MAGA activists and white supremacy.

In addition, Sheehan is accused on Twitter of defacing a jewelry store in Los Gatos with a “Trump is my President” sign. The bottom line: This supposed real estate agent is bad news for Los Gatos, according to the Goldbridge Institute research.

Goldbridge promises it will out bigots nationally in the future. While free speech is constitutional, it does not guarantee no consequences. Los Gatos has always prided itself on being an elite, yet open community. Jan Hutchins was the first African-American mayor of Los Gatos, not an insignificant fact given the demographics of the town.

We must defeat bigotry wherever it exists in this nation. Starting with Los Gatos seems like as good a place as anywhere to begin. Appropriately, there will be a march against hate on Nov. 14 in the town.

San José Spotlight columnist Rich Robinson is a political consultant, attorney and author of “The Shadow Candidate.” His columns appear every fourth Wednesday of the month.

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