“It’s long past time for you, our elected officials, to provide the oft-requested Town Hall for community members to share experiences and concerns about the racism in our community. Since you’ve refused to put the discussion about it on the agenda (despite multiple requests to do so), we will continue bringing up our concerns in the ONLY format you white city council members & Mayor have allowed, and that is the 3 minute public comment.
Content Warning for Racial Trauma: This past weekend, some white republicans allegedly celebrated a birthday by hanging some democratic candidate’s signs from a tree in their yard, ostensibly as some kind of sick, twisted “joke.”
We hope our fellow white people in our community listen up. Displays, jokes, comments, references etc. regarding HANGING or LYNCHING of human beings are NEVER OK.
Such behavior triggers historical racial trauma and creates new racial trauma, here and now, which harms our Black community members. It demonstrates profound ignorance and/or indifference to the pain of those who live in this community and have had ancestors hanged by white folks.
This event, and the many racist, hateful comments continuing to be posted online via social media by community members and yelled at Black Lives Matter protesters demonstrates that the structural racism in our community is not confined to any particular agency, institution, process, policy. It’s our local culture.
It is pervasive, lives in the hearts of our white community members, and is expressed on a tragic, hurtful spectrum of racial trauma ranging from indifference and silencing to deliberate acts of hatred and violence. Our Black community members have reported many are experiencing racism in housing, employment, education, healthcare, finances, and religion.
Lack of representation, transparency, and oversight in white-designed and white-led agencies allows these problems to persist. You have the power to work on these structures. Please step up in your humanity and service as elected and appointed city officials and take on this work now.
Silencing, centering of white feelings, misusing power to thwart transparency and accountability is what structural racism looks like in the north. Mayor Inman, we are your citizens too and we need you to do your job and schedule a Town Hall to discuss these problems before the quality of life for our Black and other community members of Color gets worse.
Heather McMeekan, President
Democratic Women of McDonough County