Thursday’s Washington County Quorum Court meeting included remarks by County Judge Joseph Wood, a religious conservative Republican African-American, on the Black Lives Matter movement. He was asked by JP Sue Madison if he’d call for a moment of silence or speak in favor of the movement sweeping the country, including recent demonstrations in Fayetteville.
The full meeting may be viewed on YouTube at the link. The relevant discussion begins at 25:48. A transcript of the county judge’s remarks:
Well, I, I definitely think, that we have, uh, we have been preparing for, and I guess I should have said that in our comments, uh, the number, the protests in regard to police brutality. Uh, we had that occurring, occurring in the region, uh, Northwest Arkansas, and so working with our law enforcement officers, as well as those who are, uh, organizing trying to minimize, uh, riots and violence to again, bring, uh, light to the issue of police brutality. Uh, and so again, with that, I, I definitely encourage and support the fact that, yes, uh, all lives do matter, but you have to make sure that when you’re talking about black lives, you’re talking about all black lives whether that be – the, uh – those who are aborted, those who are, eh, black on black crime, as well as those who have succumbed to, those of, of, uh, police brutality. Uh, we have a nation who’s really trying to have those discussions. And I’ve been on a number of those with folks around the country, if you will, and, so I appreciate you, Sue Madison, being a part of, uh, that discussion. Eh, we gotta keep doing that, but I think the real reforms will start, uh, from the home, obviously to our policies, to our lawmakers, to our judges as well as to our law enforcement, as well as our citizens being, uh, uh, good partners. So, with that, I, I, those would be my comments that I would make. And, again, I appreciate that again the fact that we have, a, at least here in Washington County we’ve been able to see some really good conversation and collaboration between those who are wanting to raise issue and bring that to the forefront as well the work of our law enforcement officers, our Sheriff’s Department. So I’m really pleased with how we have been operating and performing and working together. And that’s what’s going to be necessary as we start looking through policies and reforms, etc.
Today is Juneteenth. #BlackAtUARK continues to be a hot topic on Twitter. Donald Trump rallies Saturday in nearby Tulsa. The Republican legislature and governor of Arkansas have so far resisted taking steps to be sure people can vote safely in November during the coronavirus pandemic. The state has already imposed various measures to suppress the vote of poor and minorities.
I might not have chosen Thursday night to begin remarks on Black Lives Matter by employing the tone-deaf “all lives matter” catch phrase. But, yes. Good partners are needed.