For The Press
I sat attentively on Monday night at the City Council meeting as several members of the council voiced their disapproval of several factors concerning the diversity initiative. Councilman Jason Rogers raised several questions that are being asked by the NAACP and respected members of the African American community. Such as, “Why are only Caucasian males the deciding factor on how a diversity initiative should begin?” Rogers said.
You cannot begin to fix relations between the black and white communities by members of the white community telling the black community that we know what’s best for you. Furthermore it is insulting to my intelligence for you to want me to believe that this diversity initiative is important to us all and then in the same breath tell me “that it comes down to dollar and cents” as Mr. Pickle stated. Although this type of initiative is not free it should come down to quality and results not dollars and cents. Paris,Texas has received national media attention in recent years being called the most racist city in America. Addressing these type of critical issues should be important enough to rise above the bottom line of cost. Paris has lost tens of millions of dollars in economic development because of its racist reputation and trying to choose the cheapest way out is a prime example of how we refuse to acknowledge that we have real issues in our community.
However, I was pleased to see the councilman and several other council members not afraid to ask the tough questions when it comes to issues that will affect our entire community.
It wasn’t what happened in front of all the citizens during the council meeting, but what happened just moments after the city council adjourned that made me angry. As Councilman Jason Rogers spoke quietly with new Councilman Grossnickle, Councilman Edwin Pickle quickly approached the two and began pointing his finger and yelling at Councilman Rogers. Councilman Jason Rogers stopped and said, “Don’t yell at me. What is your problem?” Edwin Pickle continued shouting at Mr. Rogers for several minutes. I watched as Councilman Rogers attempted to leave several times, but Councilman Pickle blocked the door not allowing Mr. Rogers to walk out.
Finally, Councilman Edwin Pickle had to be physically removed from the building by two other men as he continued to shout at Councilman Rogers all the way out of the door. I believe that if others had not been present Councilman Edwin Pickle would have physically attacked Councilman Jason Rogers.
I have never seen such a blatant attempt to intimidate a publicly elected official in my life. No one should be attacked or intimidated for disagreeing with Mr. Pickle or any other City Council Member. Mr. Pickle’s actions were both disrespectful and appalling. His behavior is completely unacceptable and it reeks of racism. Not the burning of crosses or lynching racism, but the you need to stay in your place, who do you think you are having an equal say with me, racism.
The NAACP demands a public apology from Mr. Pickle, as Mr. Rogers was speaking on behalf of our community and is a member of good standing with the NAACP. The NAACP will not stand for the intimidation or violation of the civil rights of anyone. It is because of people like Mr. Edwin Pickle that Racism is alive and well in our community.
NAACP – Local Chapter