Race, Inclusivity Meeting Encounters Controversy
The October 7 meeting of the Rye City School District’s Task Force on Race, Inclusivity and Community took a turn towards exclusivity when a participant stated that some members of the Black Lives Matter movement promote violence. Seven or eight task force members attacked the individual, suggesting that they must not care about black people, and that white people have no right to discuss Black Lives Matter.
The criticism of aspects of the BLM organization was sparked by the use of a BLM poster as video backdrop for one of the consultants hired by the District. The consultants are Professor Natalie Zwerman, Director of the Steinhardt Center at NYU, and Luis Alejandro Tapia, Equity Coach at the Center.
In raising questions regarding the BLM organization, the task force member cited video and written evidence of BLM members promoting violence.
Natalie Zwerger criticized the member for speaking about BLM, saying, “Harm was done.”
According to several participants in the zoom meeting, Natalie Zwerger and Luis Tapia assert that students should be taught to “disrupt and destroy the institutional and societal structures that sustain systemic racism.” As Tapia explained to the group, “If you don’t agree that America is systemically and structurally racist, you don’t belong on the Task Force.” Director Zwerger stated in a September 29 Tweet: “I am here for radical revolution.”
During the zoom meeting of the Task Force, Superintendent Dr. Eric Byrne warned members that they should not talk to anyone outside the Task Force about its proceedings, particularly the press. He also said that if any participant disrupted the work of the task force with actions that were counter to its purpose they may be asked to step down or he might remove them if necessary.