Tianna Arata is a local activist fighting for racial equality. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mustang News.

I am writing this letter in regards to my name being addressed in the Mustang News story “Meet The Eight City Council Candidates…” SLO City Council candidate Abrianna Torres claims we have “spoken a few times since my arrest.” This is blatantly false; we have not spoken, and it is unprofessional for her to speak about me in an interview about her campaign. 

In this fight for liberation, my message is solidarity amongst people. We the public have a duty to work cohesively as a community, hold each other accountable, and to fight these systemically racist power structures locally, and throughout the greater United States. San Luis Obispo City Council candidate Abrianna Torres has been nothing but divisive, and gaslights other Black people within SLO County on their experiences with racism. Additionally, it is unprofessional for [Abrianna Torres] to use me to further her platform. During her interview with Mustang News, she openly lied about alleged exchanges between her and I.  

Abrianna claims I misconstrued her words about white privilege. I have never once misinterpreted her words or their meaning. I heard them loud and clear, alongside [Cal Poly] Football players, Jalen Hamler and Xavier Moore. During a meeting with Torres in early June, she told us, “White privilege doesn’t exist, and if you acknowledge it you’re victimizing yourself.” In sharing our lived experiences with racism, oppression and poverty, none of my friends nor colleagues come from a so-called victim stand point. It is dangerously irresponsible of Torres to make such statements putting people down and undermining their racial experiences within the broken system we reside in as Black Americans. When we address white privilege, often we are looking at systemic racism, which Abrianna does not thoroughly understand. She claims her first and only instance with systemic racism was with me and those calling her out for these statements. PSA: another Black woman calling you out for false views is NOT systemic racism, it is accountability for a harmful mentality. 

To further demonstrate her lack of awareness, she has since backpedaled her initial statement around white privilege, and now insists ALL LIVES have privilege, including Black privilege and female privilege. She states Black History Month and BSUs as examples of Black privilege. Once again she has demonstrated her purposeful ignorance in upholding white supremacy. To clarify, this is the same woman, a former Sheriff’s deputy, that claims law enforcement, not Black people have been marginalized in San Luis Obispo.

Torres also states we spoke a *few* times since my arrest. This is a blatant lie. I have no relationship with Abrianna. For months, her close friends and family have taken to social media to slander and bully me and my college age friends. I have spoken with Abrianna only once, during the meeting in June, long before my arrest. Since then she has continued to pit herself against me, and racially gaslight my personal experiences as a Black woman, by forcing hers to the surface and discrediting others’ encounters with both social and structural racism. She claims she is running as a ‘non-partisan’ candidate yet just posted a photo with the conservative, Pro Trump Candace Owens. This speaks for itself. 

Abrianna has done nothing to bring together minority groups in San Luis Obispo besides exploit unknowing Black student athletes on her social media stories to make her fan-base look more diverse than it actually is. She is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and glosses over her right-wing beliefs to make herself more appealing to the SLO community. She stands against any progress our BLM community has made, and stands firm that experiencing racism (if it even exists at all in SLO County) is a choice.

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