One Washington state city parks department hosted a whites-only staff meeting this past week in order to talk about white supremacy and how the white population can try to be more helpful after the recent mass shooting that took place in Buffalo this month, as stated in a report.
Metro Parks Tacoma tried to determine how “white people can move from being allies to advocates” at a meeting, as reported by Jason Rantz, who is a conservative radio host most well known for breaking the story for KTTH. The chief equity officer for the department, Norinda Roasio, planned the meeting by sending out an email that was obtained by Rantz.
“I am holding space for White staff to connect and share their thoughts and feelings around the Buffalo Supermarket massacre that took the lives of 10 innocent Black people in Buffalo, NY, on Saturday, May 14,” read the email that was distributed. “This is an invitation, not an expectation.”
EXCLUSIVE: Tacoma Parks hosted a whites-only staff meeting to discuss how to "move from being allies to advocates” in response to the mass shooting in Buffalo.
When a white staffer called this divisive, he was publicly scolded by the equity director.https://t.co/jBjXa5Vnp5
— Jason Rantz on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) May 26, 2022
The 18-year-old shooter from Buffalo was reportedly a white supremacist, as reported by police officials. As a result of the shooting, 11 people were killed with another three wounded, and reportedly the shooter chose a supermarket in an area of the city that was predominantly black people.
On staff member for Tacoma parks made the complaint that the idea of making the meeting whites-only was just divisive, however, Rosario allegedly stated that she was glad it made him cringe, stated another report.
A spokesperson from the parks department stated to the Rantz Show that “affinity” group meetings, where people are sent invited solely based upon a shared identity, are quite common and defended the one created by Rosario because it was attempting to encourage white people to take part in more activism.
“The conversation for white folks was also intended to help grieve and process and heal, but also to share thoughts about racial violence and how white people can move from being allies to advocates – in a conversation space without risk of further traumatizing BIPOC colleagues,” stated the spokesperson via an email.
The same spokesperson claimed that there were many other meetings that were also held for non-whites.
“There were several conversation times for black/BIPOC folks, and others for white folks,” Rantz was informed by the spokesperson. “The intent behind the conversations for BIPOC folks was to create a process for healing, a space where people can talk freely, for black and brown staff to grieve and process this incident and the toll of racism as a whole without the risk of the conversation diverting to console white people and serve their needs instead.”
Quite a few staff members objected to the meeting being whites-only, but one reportedly yelled his dissent via using reply-all to the email.
“White staff?” stated the employee. “This doesn’t sit well with me separating fellow coworkers by skin color. It was a tragic event that took place, but I’d like to think we all fit under the same umbrella as Americans. Our hearts go out to those affected.”