Editor in Chief
During a Town Council meeting on Dec. 6, Los Gatos Town Manager Laurel Prevetti announced that Los Gatos will begin including Native American Heritage Month on the official town calendar. This decision comes after countless efforts to convince the town to honor the month from Alicia Spargo, Native American Los Gatos resident, a member of the Yaquis of Southern California, and a founding member of the Los Gatos Anti-Racism Coalition.
Spargo explained on her Instagram account, @antiracismlg, that since making her request for the town to honor Native American Heritage Month last year, she has “received incredible pushback [and] was dismissed, disrespected, gaslit, tone policed, and vilified. It took a lot of patience, tears, and determination of communication to finally have the Town make a public statement.” During the Town Council meeting, she commented, “If a person of color approaches you with easy ways that you can create actual change to better diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, please be open and kind to us.”
In the past year, Spargo also spoke “on and off” with Ryan Baker, the Los Gatos Public Library Director, about the library honoring Native American Heritage Month. She expressed disappointment at a lack of progress with Baker. Last year, he pledged to make a post on social media acknowledging Native American Heritage Month. Spargo sent him multiple reminders and provided him with artwork, but the public library did not publish anything until Nov. 19, after Spargo called him out publicly.
Baker wrote an apology letter to Spargo, which she shared on her Instagram account. He stated, “[Spargo] rightfully called me out. I began this journey in a state of denial. As the director of a public library with a mission to share the cultures, ideas, histories, and thoughts of often marginalized peoples, I believed that what we had done to celebrate…was a success.” This November, the Los Gatos Public Library amplified Native American voices through initiatives like the Oak Meadow Park story walk, storytime sessions, and special book displays.
However, Baker continued, “I only came to realize much later that what we were doing was never the issue, it was about who I personally was excluding and why.” Baker referenced the social media post, apologizing specifically for his defensive attitude: “In my pride of my work that my staff had put together to celebrate Native American Heritage month, I had rudely and personally dismissed making a simple social media post…[I] sent an enormous message of exclusion and dismissal.” Spargo appreciated his “willingness to admit fault [and] statement of commitment to fix the issue.”
Los Gatos leaders hope to continue making Los Gatos a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community by listening to citizens’ voices and furthering efforts like the Listen Learn Change Grow campaign. For more information on past and future Town Council meetings, you can visit www.losgatosca.gov.
(Sources: LGARC, Instagram, YouTube, Town of Los Gatos)