Enrique Morones (right) with members of the Orange Glen High School basketball team.

As a member of San Diego’s anti-hate coalition and a long-time advocate for social justice, I know racism when i see it.

The tortilla throwing incident after the recent Coronado-Orange Glen championship basketball game was not only racist and hateful, but an assault on our soul that could have escalated into something much worse.

Firing Coronado High School’s coach was warranted, but it was not enough. After being invited to dinner by parents and players of Orange Glen, I learned first hand and in detail what took place in Coronado on the eve of Juneteenth.

I learned, through anguish and tears, the pain of not only being pelted with tortillas but having to endure the hate of racial slurs, being denied locker rooms for some, given the back door “for browns only” exits and even physical assaults by some of the Coronado islanders.

Bravo to the California Interscholastic Federation for stepping up and disciplining Coronado for this despicable incident and the attempted cover-up to protect its championship.

By vacating the title and sanctioning Coronado’s sports programs, the CIF honored its code of good sportsmanship, integrity and fair play. It demonstrated to high schools across the state that hate and racism are not welcome in sports

I am also grateful to those who spoke at the Coronado Unified School District’s board meeting, especially those from Coronado who testified to the shame of what they have witnessed at Coronado High over the years and their belief that change is long overdue.

There is much work ahead to fight hate in our schools. We need more diversity education and we need to reach out to our most vulnerable and oppressed communities, such as day laborers, the hungry, the homeless and “the other” 

There have been similar incidents at other schools. It is not too late to rectify the hate expressed at an April game between Cathedral Catholic and Lincoln High School. And we need to counter extremism on some school boards.

But having spoken to families from both Coronado and Orange Glen, I know we can find light to help heal the wounds.

Many of us have failed to teach our children to listen and not shout, to witness and not judge, to love and not hate. Lets turn the page on this incident and work to fight hate and achieve social justice. Love is an action, not just a word.

Enrique Morones is the founder of Border Angels, the House of Mexico, and Gente Unida, where he serves as executive director. 

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