Public Comment 9.14.20

Read to the Macomb City Council, Sept 14,  2020

*****Public Comment: White Community Members Must Confront Systemic Racism***

On behalf of the Racial Justice Coalition, we’d like to thank the Macomb Police Officer who recovered one of our Black Lives Matter flags after last Friday’s event. We’d also like to thank OPS Director Derek Watts for using effective de-escalation tactics in Macomb’s Chandler Park last Wednesday during WIU Black Student Association’s Black Lives Matter speakout. He helped keep an agitated white male who has openly expressed racist sentiments at our events safely distant from vulnerable Black students, while still affording both him and the students their rights. We appreciate it.

We have concerns about Chief Barker’s presentation two weeks ago about the police complaint brochure. He explained how the complaint system is designed for the protection of our police officers, but failed to address how it is also supposed to protect the public. We hope that the brochure would be put online and that the Macomb Police Department would welcome public input on it before the brochure is printed.

To the white community members who organized and attended the pro-police rally, we wish to acknowledge that most likely, you attended with no conscious intention of causing racial trauma to our Black students and community members. Nevertheless, racial trauma isn’t in the intention, but in the harmful impact to the psyche of those subjected to it. We hope white community members will come to understand that holding events which are likely to cause racial trauma can be designed in a way which would mitigate or minimize such trauma, and caring organizers in the future should seek to do so. We ask the city to consider putting a box on your special event form for “Is this event likely to trigger historical racial trauma or create new trauma? If you marked yes, what attempts will be made to address the impact to marginalized Communities of Color?”

We ask that the City of Macomb train all officers to recognize hate incidents versus hate crimes.

• Create an online hate incident reporting form for establishing a baseline data set for non-criminal yet still harmful and psychologically traumatizing hate experiences for which currently our Black community members do not receive any acknowledgement. This MUST change.

• Put a discussion about tactics in racially motivated harassment and targeting of Black folx and other People of Color on an upcoming agenda for the Macomb City Council so that we may discuss these problems.


Regina Matthews, Co-Chair
DWMC Racial Justice Coalition

Heather McMeekan, President
Democratic Women of McDonough County