Woodcreek Mayor's post on Black Lives Matter called racist
Woodcreek Mayor Gloria Whitehead said that Black Lives Matter is a “threat to our lives” and a “Socialist attempt to take over our lives, using guilt and shame… the race card,” in a Facebook post on June 9. The post has spurred hundreds of comments, many of which have called Whitehead and her comments racist as well as requesting that she resign from her position as mayor.
“Of course the comments are racist,” Nelson Linder, President of the Austin chapter of the NAACP, said. “They are very insensitive. They are also very untrue. There is no parallel from Black Lives Matter to Marxism. To even to say something like that shows a degree of ignorance. The comments I saw were alarming and based in total ignorance. It is a shame that anybody (with those views) even in a small town, would have any kind of power or any kind of authority.”
The Wimberley Democrats have requested that Whitehead resign her position calling the comments "racist, divisive and completely rooted in misinformation meant to incite anger and instill fear."
"The Wimberley Democrats strongly urge Ms. Whitehead to get educated about the facts, to consider her words and her public position and to join the world-wide movement in showing compassion and understanding during these turbulent times," the statement from the Wimberley Democrats said. "As an organization committed to Justice, Equality and Democracy for ALL, we are asking Ms. Whitehead to resign as Mayor of Woodcreek immediately."
Whitehead declined to comment further. The city of Woodcreek directed any questions to the city attorney.
Whitehead said multiple times throughout a bevy of Facebook posts and responses on the topic that she is not a racist. She also argued that the message wasn’t race related and said she will “not bow down to this insane show… wake up America.”
In a series of posts, Whitehead linked Black Lives Matter to Socialism, Communism and Marxism as well as to oganizations from the 1960s such as the Black Panthers and the Weather Underground.
(Editor’s Note: Quotes from Mayor Whitehead are unedited, and pulled directly from her Facebook posts.)
“My first intro to a taste of how our country might address racial divisions came in the period of 1968 and the riots and home grown terrorists,” Whitehead said. “Namely, Weather Underground and other communist groups Intent to change our country politically and socially. I and many others rejected the manifesto . I posted today...not to debate racism, but to tell my side of the story. I see BLM as a threat to our lives.”
The Wimberley View reached out to members of the Woodcreek City Council. Of those who answered, Councilmember Vicki Alvord said that the “mayor is entitled to her opinion” and that she had no further comment. Councilmember Brent Pulley said he was disappointed in the statements made by the mayor.
“Gloria is a friend of mine, and we met and talked about running for city council again (last year),” Councilmember Brent Pulley said. “One of the main reasons we did that was we thought the discourse in the community got divided. The council was divided. We thought we could bring back decency and professionalism to the council. We would focus on local issues… We sent off a Facebook (post) that we wouldn’t invoke national politics, and Gloria has violated that pledge. I can’t imagine what caused her to do that… You can’t do that as an elected leader of a community. I am really disappointed.”
Councilmember Aurora LeBrun said that she had not seen all of the posts, but had reviewed screenshots of some of the posts.
“I do not have a full picture, but I have a good enough of a picture to say I do not agree with Ms. Whitehead,” LeBrun said. “I respect her right to express her opinion, but I am exercising my right to say she is wrong and I disagree with her. I grew up in Cuba, but I know the history of how we have treated African Americans and other minorities. I have worked in civil rights for many years. I do not get offended by anybody saying Black lives matter… I think that for too long some of us have acted like (Black lives) don’t matter. or that we can take their lives away. They are saying ‘please understand that we matter’ and they do.“
State Representative Erin Zwiener commented on the Facebook post.
"As a fellow elected official, I am disappointed to see this,” Zwiener said. “Your words, intentionally or not, do harm to our black community members. Please take the time to understand why. If you want to learn more about why this is harmful, I am happy to sit down and help you through this work. Black lives matter, full stop, and every single person in power should be stepping up to make sure they’re treated as such.”
In a later post, Whitehead continued to stick by her statements.
“I don't support the BLM Group...for my personal reasons and research over many years and just like that I'm a Racist,” Whitehead said. “...and have unmercifully been vilified. Let me be clear, I do not support , BLM, the Movement. Never have I ever said that Black Lives do not matter. Do not misquote me nor change the dialogue. To the contrary..All Lives Matter. AND..I AM NOT A Racist..You can call me a Racist all day long and I'll still not bow to the BLM idealogy.”
The Facebook post from the mayor have since been deleted.
COMPLETE TEXT OF ORIGINAL POST FROM WOODCREEK MAYOR GLORIA WHITEHEAD:
“Wakeup America..BLM is Marxist Bull Masquerading,” Whitehead said on Facebook. “...It's not about Black Lives, what have they ever done but denounce AMERICA...This is not about Ds or Rs.....It's a Socialist attempt to take over our lives, using guilt and shame...the race card...well folks .I'm not a racist!! I'll not bow down to this insane show....wakeup to save America. All Lives Matter.
Challenging you to declare ‘I'm Not A Racist‘!”
This story has been updated to include the comments of Woodcreek council members Brent Pulley and Aurora LeBurn as well as the addition of a quote from the Wimberley Democrats. The story will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.