Public Statement RE: “Fire —-” Signs

***Public Statement RE: Disrespectful, public signs seeking to humiliate a local black university administrator***

As members of the Democratic Women of McDonough County, our allyship on this issue is with our members, colleagues, friends, and family members in the black community here.

We used appropriate tactics directed at those with the power in Springfield to hold accountable ALL those in local university leadership responsible for our university’s problems, not just one person.

Our petition, public events, trips to lobby in Springfield, letters, emails, and phone calls properly called for ALL new leadership on the BOT. We have also repeatedly, openly called for replacing ALL those who violated the Open Meetings Act while in leadership roles at our local university.

We also called for ALL of those responsible for harming the institution, its people, programs, reputation, and community to be placed under new leadership, with a new BOT. And it worked. We have a new BOT.

That was the right way to do things.

The tactics being employed now in this community by “suddenly angry” (but previously silent) white people against a black man are racist.

Because our previous work using the appropriate, responsible processes and tactics are already yielding the desired result, new oversight, this issue isn’t at all whether or not the target of their sudden anger deserves to stay or go.

Indeed, many of us concerned about the current situation were harmed as well by the failures of many of the responsible University administrators, community leaders, and our State Senator and State Representative. They remained silent and complicit as all the cuts were made, year after year.

Our State Rep and Senator never put forth legislation to get our local institution supplemental funds, for YEARS. Yet there are no signs saying “Fire Norine” or “Fire Jil”, even though the need for funding will still be there and remain unmet because they STILL refuse to do their jobs as our legislators.

Similarly, we do not stand with ANY member of the previous BOT nor the previous higher administration, most of whom were allowed to move on with no consequences for their destructive decisions.

Of those who remain from the previous administration, this recent wave of attacks has only targeted the black person instead of all those responsible. THAT is what makes this blatantly racist. There’s still another white V.P., for example, who was caught violating the Open Meetings Act and subsequently directed the destruction of evidence.

Our issue is with the timing, the targeting, and the tactics being employed suddenly in the past month by white people that single out ONLY the black person involved, but not all the white people who are ALSO responsible. That makes these tactics racist, whether or not they meant it that way.

What else could possibly be motivating those who never bothered to speak up against anyone else as hundreds of members of our community were losing their jobs, their homes, their financial stability, their benefits, their healthcare?

This is why this situation is traumatizing for members of our black community who have also been harmed by the actions, complicity, or inaction of many of these people. If the tactics are racist, it doesn’t matter the intent. Racist tactics, no matter how we feel about the target, are always wrong.

We are all rightly frustrated by the situation at our local university. But those who jump on this bandwagon led by people who have never before spoken up only validate their racist tactics.

End the racist tactics harming our community and our reputation.

Let the BOT do their job.

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