During public comment at Tuesday’s July 7 Zoom council meeting, a number of issues were discussed, primarily in deep support of setting up a Monrovia Human Relations Equity Commission to address systemic racism at home and address the recent Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and protests at Library Park.
However, several commented on the July 4 virtual celebration video the city put out. In particular, several residents called out Mayor Pro Tempore Alex Blackburn and asked for his immediate resignation. Resident Ruhiyyih Yuille said Blackburn was tone deaf and she had lost her faith in the mayor pro tem for comments on that video that implied he was telling people how to protest politely in a civil manner.
Melissa Taylor also took exception with the July 4 video comments Blackburn made and pointed out that he has refused to publicly say the words “Black lives matter.”
Blackburn countered, “I did not critique Black Lives Matters.” He went on to say he believed all people protesting should choose their words carefully to better get their message across.
Another angry resident, Jessica Williams, asked Blackburn to “step down.”
The majority of the letters for public comment however were on more positive notes regarding the importance of honoring BLM and all people in the community through the creation of a city commission which will focus on positive rhetoric to create equity for all Monrovians.
City Council approved Resolution No. 2020-62 outlining the formation and duties of the future Ad Hoc Committee of Monrovians to review the policies, procedures, and practices of the city for possible barriers to equity in city government. At an upcoming meeting, the City Council will form the committee by appointing five members of the community. Anyone who is interested in serving on this committee, or who would like more information, should contact a councilmember.
The City’s YouTube July 4 video mentioned above can be found at: youtu.be/vAujehtbKCQ.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article misspelled Ruhiyyih Yuille’s name as Ruthie Yule.