The Democratic Party of McDonough County Responds

The McDonough County Democratic Central Committee has a letter to the editor today. Meanwhile, we’re still waiting for ANYONE in the local Republican party to denounce racism.

Mayor Inman knows we want an anti-racist proclamation. His ongoing excuses and put-offs on this issue reveals much about the city leadership’s lack of commitment to standing up for racial justice in this community.

We greatly appreciate our Democratic Party’s response, as below:

Letter to Our Black/Latin/Hispanic/Native American/International Community Members

We believe you. We stand with you. We want to prove it.

This is the message that the McDonough County Democratic Party wishes to share with people of color in Macomb and McDonough County, in alignment with the national Democratic Party’s established commitment to stand up for racial justice and civil rights.

This letter is partially in response to the events of this spring’s “Fire Jack” campaign organized by a group of business owners targeting WIU President Thomas. But we also recognize that events like this are only flare ups in a long-simmering reality that lets people of color know they are simply not welcome in many spaces here.

Some individuals do not understand why this campaign was racist and why people of color are still hurting from that event. Too often, the reaction by well meaning white people to events that harm the black community is to “not raise a fuss” and “wait for it to blow over”.

Silence is itself an injustice. Dr. King notes the preference of the “white moderate” for “a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.”

Black people in the community have already gone to great lengths to explain why the actions taken by the campaign were racist, through many op-eds, blog posts and public speeches. To briefly summarize, the public shaming of a black man, in the town square, using only his first name stripped of all recognition of office and merit, by powerful, prominent white citizens, reminded may people of darker days, when black men were called “boy” to belittle them. Addressing Dr. Thomas as ‘Jack’ shows disrespect for him and the office, no matter how one feels about his performance as President.

This time, because of the voices of individuals in the black community and allied organizations, this issue was not quietly hidden away.

Mayor Inman and WIU Interim President Abraham have publicly acknowledged that racism exists in our community and have pledged to address this issue. So far, an attempt at a remedy has come in the form of the “non-violent communication” workshops led by Dr. J. Q. Adams. They are a necessary start to the conversation, and we look forward to achieving material gains in racial equality in Macomb and the county.

In seeking justice we will not allow continued offenses to blow over. Last month’s “Town and Gown” event, held in the venue where the campaign slogan was prominently displayed on their marquee, caused shock and disappointment among members of our committee involved in the recent forums on racial justice.

In continued solidarity, we stand behind the National Democratic Party Platform and the efforts of local organizations that are working to create a community committed to equality and justice for all of its residents.

The McDonough County Democratic Central Committee
Contact: Lee Trotter, President, McDonough County Democratic Party


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