‘Who Are You Invested In Protecting?’
To the Editor:
I am concerned about the increasingly authoritative tone adopted by our new Chairperson of the Board of Education. It seems that each meeting opens with a longer list of rules regarding the public participation portion of the meeting.
She tried to replace clapping with hand-raising, did not like that, then indicated that no support could be shown for the people who have the courage to stand up and speak their minds at meetings.
In like manner, passionate people will react to what they feel is dangerous rhetoric. A recent public participant was expressing his frustration at having his students call him out for using offensive words. Should a parent who has experienced racism, often couched in offensive words their entire life not react when attending a meeting where they are hoping to create a safer, kinder world for their children?
I appreciate the Chairperson’s concern [about] creating a safe space. But racism kills. When you make the space safe for racists to voice their objectives, you are creating a dangerous space for people of color. Who are you invested in protecting?
She has expressed dismay over an observer being confronted for stating that he supported a particular initiative in spite of the fact that this person was observed supporting some public speeches, but none of the speeches regarding support for that same initiative. This person is an elected official. Are we not to be able to hold our elected representatives accountable for apparent duplicity?
On multiple occasions, inaccuracies recorded in the minutes regarding public speeches have been pointed out to her. Instead of taking responsibility for the errors and showing accountability, she has leaned into the excuse that the speaker was wearing a mask. As I was one of those speakers, I can tell you, I was not wearing a mask when I was speaking and misquoted. I checked the December 7 video to confirm.
There was no mask, Madam Chairperson.
She seems intent on controlling everything that happens in the meetings, including how the invited public reacts and processes what is said. Democracy is messy, Madam Chairperson. And free people are not going to be happily responsive to dictates, excuses, and a lack of accountability.