MONTICELLO, Ind. (WLFI) — A Black Lives Matter panel was held Wednesday at the Monticello Public Library. It was a chance for people to learn more about the movement, but it didn’t come without heated moments.
Within minutes of the meeting starting Wednesday night, harsh comments and opinions were thrown out. So much so, police had to escort one of the attendees out.
“It was uncomfortable,” attendee Gary Overdorf said. “But I wasn’t really surprised by it.”
“We’re in 2017, and we still have the race wars and the race hate,” attendee Tony Earley said.
A group of more than 30 people met to gain a better understanding of the Back Lives Matter Movement.
“I like the fact that a predominantly white community felt that this was something that they needed to engage,” one of the panelists, Juanita Crider, said.
“It is important for us to develop empathy,” Overdorf said. “And just walk in somebody else’s shoes for a bit.”
Three panelists from the Purdue Black Cultural Center discussed how the movement originated from a Twitter hashtag and how it grew from a grass-roots movement.
“Tonight, we were enlightened a lot about what they actually do — not just the protests — but what they actually do for communities and working for schools,” Earley said.
But most importantly, people from Monticello and White County were able to talk about something that some have never been able to discuss before.
“It is extremely important,” Crider said. “I think part of the problems that we have, as it relates to racial divisions in our country, is that we don’t talk across community, across culture enough.”
At times during the panel, comments were tough to hear. Crider said you have to move through the hard comments in hope that others hear you.
“If we back away, then that means the division will stay there, and then people who profit from the division will want to perpetrate it and win,” Crider said. “And I refuse to let them win.”
Some of the panelists said they would be interested in doing more panels in places similar to Monticello. Wednesday’s panel happened because one of the library staff asked Crider to speak.