Salisbury Councilman Kenny Hardin Speaks Out about Mayor Alexander’s Letter and Last Week’s Events Orchastrated by Her and the City Manager

Posted on May 30, 2017

Kenny Hardin, Salisbury City Council  (Reprinted with Kenny Hardin’s permission)

♦ I am angry and disgusted with the Mayor’s letter and the events orchestrated by her and the City Manager last week with the failed meetings. Implicit in her words was the demonization of the entire Black Community as she labeled a whole culture as having the propensity towards violence and being out of control with no basis rooted in fact. To paint a culture as having violent tendencies was dangerous and irresponsible and showed little regard or respect for our community.

What was her basis to make such a disrespectful assertion? An unfounded rumor. Wow.

In the last 50 years, when has the Black community staged a violent uprising and harmed the greater citizenry based on the possibility of receiving bad news? So, to call for secret meetings to ask for calm before anything happened was irresponsible. For the last six months, the City refused any opportunity to engage in dialogue about the issue so why is it so important at the 11th hour?

The three things the City said they were concerned about in the wake of the decision being announced were random White people being shot by blacks, the downtown being burned down, and the officer and his family being targeted. Where is any concern for anything related to the safety or concern for the Black community? So why would you call on Black people to meet to ask other Black people to calm down about an issue they had no expectations about nor did they create? In a City where racial division is already prevalent, why would you add to the problem by engaging in this?

I don’t think the Mayor or City Manager are racist. They just suffer from a racial arrogance and point of privilege where they don’t see things from any other perspective besides their own, nor do they feel the need to. They don’t consider the thoughts, opinions and needs of the Black community as important because they don’t have to. But, some Black people are complicit and equally at fault for allowing this attitude towards the community to exist. Why is it the Mayor and City Manager felt comfortable going to certain misguided Black people and pushing such a heinous and disrespectful action and bring them into it? They have a group the City Manager has deemed his De-escalation Team. This Team was responsible for the failed vigil held at the victim’s home a few days after the shooting. The family responded angrily and demanded the crowd leave their property. There is a whole lot of meth and major drugs being moved through this City, so when are the secret meetings with the White leaders being scheduled?

I was told by the City Manager they were thinking of having these meetings, but was left out of any further planning and implementation. I was not made aware of anything and heard about the meetings from a citizen through social media. I was not involved in any aspect of the hiring of the current Chief or the new Deputy Chief. I only met them both the first time when they were introduced to the public at Council meetings. When I questioned the City Manager and Mayor about how the invite list for the secret failed meetings were created and told him them they didn’t invite the right people from the Black community, they said they didn’t know who else to invite. They have my number and could’ve called.

This is disappointing to me because I’ve been actively involved in the community for nearly 30 years and have built strong relationships, yet they seem to bypass me and fail to involve me in any decisions. All the decisions they make end poorly and they wonder why there is no progress, trust or communication with the Black community. I understand a Rep from the City has contacted a local news outlet on multiple occasions since the failed and poorly attended meeting. I understand she had shared strong feelings about how the city is tired of Black people complaining and failing to accept the City’s overtures to get involved. This is not surprising because the previous Chief wrote in an email how really tired he was of working with the Black community too. I’ve tried to tell the City Manager and Mayor that you can’t just create initiatives that impact a community without asking or involving the community and then get upset when they show you it’s not what they want or need. That is the height of arrogance and privilege.

The entire Black community should be offended by the Mayor’s words and demand more respect and consideration from City leaders. I have no expectations they will see the error in their ways because they don’t feel they have to. No longer should anyone who shows such disdain for our community be given a pass simply because they attend a church service, buy a few fish plates or say how much they love Black people at a diversity event. We have to stop selling ourselves to the lowest bidder and demand more respect.

Salisbury City Hall’s Blunders Concerning the Officer-involved-Shooting of Claude Ferguson Laurent and Tuesday May 30th’s “Justice in Salisbury Meeting”:

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