Councilmen Herbert Taylor and Terika Williams-Walker held a community meeting at Mt. Zion CME Church Thursday evening. Many subjects were addressed during the meeting, including some of the issues that have been hot topics in the council meetings as of late, the Councilmen’s personal experiences of being on the City Council, but most of all, they were asking the community for their support.
“I’m actually pleading to the community that your council members need your support,” said Councilman herbert Taylor of Dist. A, “I feel like Monday night was a modern-day lynching. I walked into the building to represent my district from the calls I got about the situation and I had no one to support me.”
The discussion that ensued was of Councilman Taylor expressing the fact that he’s trying to represent his community, but if they don’t support what he’s trying to do, they need to let him know so he can focus on other matters.
“If you feel like it’s an unjust cause, let us know and we’ll drop it,” said Taylor, “This past year has been unpleasant, and I told myself, going into 2020, I was through arguing and through fighting, I was through with all of that, and I would just try to do my job to the best of my ability and represent my people as well as I can. If I’m not the one to represent you, let me know, because there are others who feel I shouldn’t be in my seat, and I need to know from you all, do I deserve to be here?”
Councilman Walker also voiced similar concerns of a lack of support from the community in the January City Council Meeting and again asked for their support.
“We’re just asking for support,” Walker said. “Like Mr. Taylor said, we entered a hostile environment. It was evident as soon as we walked in the room. That’s ridiculous, because we’re asking for things to be done the right way. We’re not going to agree on everything and we know that, but we ought to be able to compromise. We’re the only ones compromising.
We’re asking for your support. We need your support. We’re not asking for anything that’s unfair or unjust, we’re just asking that the rules and the laws be followed, and right now we have a Mayor that has a problem with that. Honestly, he’s acting like a tyrant. He wants to do what he wants to do, how he wants it done, regardless of what the Council members say.”
Later during the discussion, Taylor and Walker took the opportunity to voice some of their frustrations about what they have to go through as members of the Council to their constituents.
“First of all, we want respect. We can’t even get respect. Our voices are not getting heard. It has been unpleasant. I had no idea it would be like this, because the things we ran on, our platform, we’re not seeing any of that,” said Walker,
“You just want to suppress our voices and act like what we’re saying doesn’t have any merit. You’re not trying to fix the situation, you’re being a bully in the situation, you’re just saying, I’m going to do what I want to do. That’s the issue with everything that has happened.”
Councilman Taylor added, “If we’re put there to have a vote, and we cast our vote, and then for you to go back and say, well your vote doesn’t mean anything, I’m going to do what I want, how does that make me feel as a councilman? My voice isn’t heard, so why should I even speak?”
The discussion later transitioned them talking specifically about the T.C. Bloxom Memorial Sign at the Minden Rec Center.
“I’ve been dealing with Parks and Recreation since I’ve come to Minden in 2006. I’ve been a youth football coach. I’ve been down there on that particular field. There has never been a safety hazard on that field. It’s been a nice recreation football field. The fence was not needed to begin with,” said Taylor.
He also chose to address the concern that the sign and fence should stay up due to it being for the children in the community. “As far as dealing with the youth, I stay in contact with them from mentoring to doing free haircuts every year for back to school. I care about our future, which is the youth. And that there to me, was a plan to make money. They put a fence there to make one entrance into that field so they could charge people to come see their kids play sports,” said Taylor.
Councilman Walker said, “It’s not that we don’t care about the youth, I’m an educator. Been doing it for 23 years. So for someone to say that I don’t care about the youth? That’s ridiculous. I don’t care who’s name is up there. It was done wrong, bottom line. It should’ve come through the council. My issue is the lack of respect for the black council members who stand up there.
“At some point, they’re going to have to stop using the excuse, well, it was done like this 30 years ago, that’s how it’s always been done. I don’t care. It was wrong 30 years ago, and if they sat there and didn’t say anything, that’s on them. But this is a new council, and this is a new day. It’s not black or white, it’s right or wrong.”
Councilman Taylor also took the time to address the police officers that had recently been fired and rehired to the Minden police force. “It’s not even about the sign with me, it’s about the officers on the police force. We as a community, we sat down and took that. Our kids, everyone that looks like us is in danger as long as those two are patrolling our streets. We’re just going to sit down and take it?” said Taylor.
Councilman Walker then added, “The mayor acted as the governing authority for the city and said we declined to file an appeal. Mr. Minnifield went to court. Once he got there, they didn’t want to hear from him, because the mayor got up and said he was acting as the governing authority, and declined to appeal the case, so that’s what we’re stuck with.”
Many ideas were tossed out about how the community could help support their councilmen, but Councilman Walker explained that the best thing they could do was to come to the meetings and have their voices be heard.
“Until we have the citizens come and speak up and ask about different things, that’s the best chance we have of things being addressed. Because anytime we say anything, it’s racially motivated. It does not matter, they’re not listening. But if we could get the constituents to come to voice their concerns about certain issues, that’s our best chance of having him address it,” said Walker.