Nov 6, 2023
The Bullpen: Black Woman Harassed By Racist Hecklers At Council Meeting Speaks Out
- 16 minutes
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Bullpen. [MUSIC] >> Speaker 2: Would not hire him for your own personal business. If you- [BLEEP] >> Speaker 4: Go home- [00:00:20] >> Go back to Africa, you don't like it. [BLEEP] >> Wow, wow. >> Speaker 1: [BLEEP] Belong in Africa. >> Speaker 2: [BLEEP] Has to stop, correct? >> Speaker 5: Please wait. Please wait, yes. [00:00:36] >> Who was on the that's [INAUDIBLE] >> Speaker 2: So, Mr. Sorette, I would ask that you apologize first for what just came through there. While you're telling me to wait, you should be- >> I'm sorry. >> Apologizing for what just happened. >> I'm sorry, that should not have happened. >> Thank you. >> And I don't know how it did, it's a technical, [00:00:52] I don't have any control over that. >> Speaker 5: Okay- >> And surely that is inappropriate- >> Thank you. >> I couldn't agree with you more. >> Speaker 2: Thank you. So, to me, that should have been the first thing said to every African American in this place, everybody. Because it's not just a me thing. [00:01:09] >> Speaker 1: We have the person who was really a victim of that verbal assault and racism and sexism and everything else on the program. Miss Amy Malone, I wish it was under better circumstances, but thank you for joining us on the show. How are you? >> Speaker 4: Thank you, sir. I appreciate you for having me on, and thank you for [00:01:25] bringing attention to this matter and what happened. >> It was so extreme, and your point was so well understood immediately, because, I think this was the mayor pro tem, am I correct? >> Speaker 4: Absolutely, yes, it was- >> Okay. >> It was the mayor pro tem. [00:01:41] >> Mayor pro tem- >> The mayor was actually on Zoom, via Zoom, but it was mayor pro tem that was running the meeting. >> Speaker 1: Okay, so the mayor pro tem, he has the authority. He has the tactical control of the meeting. This happens during the meeting, [00:01:57] you have a connection of live plus online attendees. That's something that happens, it's pretty normative now with city council meetings. >> Speaker 3: Yes. >> Speaker 1: This outbreak of just insane and aggressive talk happens. I'm sure there are rules against it. [00:02:13] And instead of the mayor pro tem, who's in charge of the meeting immediately, a, chastising those who are talking this way and cutting that mic off and saying, shut this whole thing down, right? It's as if he's coming at you, telling you to be quiet. [00:02:28] >> Speaker 3: Correct. >> Speaker 1: Talk to us about what was happening that day. >> Speaker 4: Well, in that moment, there was a room full of people that were protesting the hiring of the new city manager. And while I was speaking and expressing my grievances regarding this gentleman, [00:02:47] I hear through the speaker these derogatory slurs. And I wasn't sure in that moment whether it was coming, whether the person was behind me, whether they were in that room, or was that in the speaker. [00:03:03] And when I did realize where it was coming from, immediately I looked to mayor pro tem to shut it down, to stop everything and let us take a moment, take care of what's going on, shut it off. [00:03:19] Because it went on for quite a while, it should have been an immediate. I've run Zoom meetings before where you just cut off their sound, and that's not what happened. And once they continued, he just continued, he kept saying, I don't know where it's coming from, instead of taking control and immediately, [00:03:37] everything needs to stop right now, and then addressing me and apologizing. >> Speaker 1: This happened in San Bernardino city council meeting. >> Speaker 1: Correct. >> Speaker 1: What was the grievance against the newly hired city manager? [00:03:53] >> Speaker 4: So the new city manager, Mr. Charles Montoya, he was hired after a long search. However, he'd been the city manager for three other cities. He was fired from those three cities for corruption, insubordination, [00:04:10] theft of funds, those type of things. So to hire someone who is currently in litigation with another city because of issues that they had with him, to hire someone like that and to think that that's the best that we can do, I had a problem with that. [00:04:29] When you are bringing in somebody for the highest paid position in the city, the most powerful, pretty much position in the city, because he's taking care of all of our tax money and he's making the decisions on what is going to happen in this city. I felt that they needed to take more time. [00:04:47] We had a temporary person in place, we could have continued with that person, and instead they wanted to bring in someone immediately. And I felt there's got to be a reason, when you're hiring someone who has a past like this, either there's ulterior motives going on, something's got to happen. [00:05:07] And so for me, our current mayor specializes in human resources, so that just didn't match to me. I thought that we needed to go back to the drawing board, revisit seeing some of the other candidates, and they just continued to try to make it a race thing. [00:05:25] We wanna hire the first Latino, and I'm not mad about that. I want to hire a qualified candidate, and I would love for them to be a Latino. >> Speaker 1: So your gripe, your issue is legitimate. [00:05:41] >> Speaker 1: Yes. >> That's a legitimate concern, I think, for anyone. >> Speaker 1: Absolutely, and it was a room full of people. >> Right, who had the same concern. >> Yes, that were concerned about that, absolutely. >> Speaker 3: Okay, as far as the response from those individuals, right? [00:05:58] They started to call you the B word. They're yelling racial slurs. The audience, there seems to be kind of a collective, whoa- >> Yes. >> But it's silent. So tell me what happened in that moment. How was the crowd responding to this? [00:06:15] >> Speaker 4: Everyone was in total shock. Shock, disbelief, anger. There was anger immediately in the room. There was a disbelief that something like this was happening. And you could hear behind me people like you said, [SOUND] and [00:06:33] again, angry because there was quite a few African Americans in the room. But I wanna make sure people understand San Bernardino is not racist. I've seen and I've read that, well, there have always been racist. [00:06:49] Well, no, everybody that I've come in contact with has been more than gracious, has been sympathetic, has been angry about it. It's the way that the dais handled that. It's the way that our city officials handled that, yeah. [00:07:04] >> Speaker 1: Let me repeat, because I want to remind everyone of what was said to you in that moment. Somebody shut this n word up. Go home, you b word. Go back to Africa if you don't like it. Obviously, no one knows how they're going to respond in a professional moment, [00:07:24] and something like that is said to them. I have no idea how I would have reacted. What was going through your mind in the immediacy of those comments? >> Speaker 4: I was angry. I was sad. [00:07:39] >> Speaker 4: Yeah. >> It hurt, but I also knew my reaction was going to determine how this played out, if they was gonna turn to me and me being angry and cursing back. [00:07:55] Now, that changes the narrative. Now they're talking about what I said rather than what the person who attacked me said. So I knew in that moment and it may sound like a cliché, but in all honesty, I had in my head what Michelle Obama said when they go low, you go high. [00:08:10] And in that moment, I had to go high, but I broke down crying when I got in my car. I cried, I screamed, I called family because I could not believe that that happened to me. You just don't think something like that is going to happen to you. [00:08:27] And it hurt. And I didn't realize how much it hurt, to be very honest, until I went to the city council meeting this last week and standing before them then it just all came back, like I wanted to break down and cry. [00:08:43] And that's unusual for me. >> Speaker 1: You see, what you just said is 100% true. You were aware of so many things in a split second. [00:08:59] And the reason why we are aware of these things, we are aware that if we have an appropriate response, we're angry. We're angry that someone has insulted us. If we respond appropriately to that anger, meaning we are angry at how they came to us in this racist anger, [00:09:18] we're just righteously angry, right? If we respond that way, the story becomes about our response rather than the racism and the insults launched. So you have to know all of this in a split second. And something I tell my college students, that means when we have that response, [00:09:35] that means that we're carrying around that trauma without knowing we are carrying around that trauma, >> Speaker 3: Yes. >> Speaker 3: Right? And I think that's some, you experienced some of that when you went back to that council meeting. You're still carrying some of that trauma. >> Without knowing, I did not know, I thought I was fine. [00:09:51] I thought I was okay. And this is just, look, we have to do this. There's a job now to do, and we have to make sure that we don't allow that to fall to the wayside, continue with this. But just standing in front of them, I just literally [00:10:08] inside my stomach just felt empty, like it just dropped. And in the meeting they were giving their apologies, and it just didn't, a week later, or matter of fact, this was a couple of weeks later, it doesn't feel sincere. [00:10:25] It doesn't feel, it's not enough. It's not enough, I needed you to be angry in that moment. I needed you to be appalled in that moment. So to come back now and hear this, it even made me angrier, and it hurt. [00:10:41] And so sometimes people don't understand that because a couple of people said, well, I appreciate your apology. And that's fine, I'm not taking that away from them, but I know what I needed in that moment, I did not get. And I'm sure so many people that look like me, [00:10:58] whose parents, I had older people, my elders who called and reached out to me bawling because it was a trigger. It was something they said, we fought so you didn't have to do that. You never would have to feel that. And it was just the weight, the weight of it. [00:11:17] >> Speaker 1: What did they end up doing? I saw an update, and I think I provided that update where they spoke tough and said this would be different in the future. But what actually changed or what justice was sought? >> Speaker 3: Nothing, nothing. [00:11:33] I'm gonna be very honest with you, nothing changed. They said they identified the IP address, but I've heard nothing about the people who perpetrated the crime. The mayor called me about a week later, I'll say about five days later, [00:11:55] because she was having a gathering to stand against racism. And even in that, the three Black city council members attended, the other four chose not to. [00:12:10] The other four did not attend, and all had reasons they did not, but I just think something like that speaks volumes. >> Speaker 1: Let's talk about that, okay. What's the racial makeup of council? >> Speaker 4: So, three African Americans, [00:12:27] three Latinas, and one white man- >> Okay. >> And then our mayor is Vietnamese. >> Speaker 1: And when the mayor calls for basically a racial reconciliation type of event- >> Yes. [00:12:44] >> Speaker 1: Only the Black council members responded with presence. >> The ones that came. Those are the only that came. >> Wow. >> Yes, and that's like a slap in the face as well. So, how do you think that I felt when then they had a constructed statement at the last council meeting to say, [00:13:02] we are really sorry about what happened, it should never happen [SOUND]. I feel like unless something detrimental is happening, you should come together and stand against something that you say you don't stand for. [00:13:18] Because I feel like if you don't stand against it, you stand with it, there is no middle ground. >> Speaker 1: That's right. You are obviously an outspoken individual, you're willing to be the leader in the room, that's necessary. You will speak truth to power. [00:13:35] Give us some of your background. What was the genesis for you to become the leader you are? >> Speaker 4: So let me just say this. I've always been an outspoken individual, and I utilized that, and I became a public relations specialist. [00:13:52] So I work in publicity, I'm a publicity strategist. I own Girl in Charge Public Relations, and that is why I know how a story can turn. And I knew in that moment that, I know what I would have advised my client to do, [00:14:10] and I needed to do the same thing. I just could not allow them to take that and let that be what now is who Amy is, who Amy Malone is, is the person who cursed out or did whatever. I couldn't do that. [00:14:26] I could not. So as a person who works in communication, that's how I chose to handle it. So, yes, I'm a PR director, and I do publicity, mainly entertainment PR, [00:14:41] but I do work with nonprofits and elected officials. >> Speaker 1: Well, I got to tell you this. [COUGH] The way you responded, it was flawless, in my opinion. You never took any of your response that gave the energy to those who are racist. [00:14:58] You went back to the person who was in charge. >> Thank you. >> The people who were convening the meeting, that is their responsibility. Take that pressure off of you, put it back on them. That's exactly what you did. >> Speaker 4: Thank you so much. I appreciate hearing you say that. I respect you. [00:15:13] I respect your opinion. I've been watching you for many, many years. So, thank- >> Thank you. >> You so much. >> Speaker 1: We appreciate you. And for those who are watching this interview and they are looking at the scene, they see what's happened, but [00:15:31] they may be hesitant to step out and become a leader. What would your recommendation to them be? >> Speaker 4: It's your right. It's your right. Don't allow anybody to take from you what people fought so hard for you to have. [00:15:49] Your civic right is to go and to speak out and to speak up. If we don't do it, then those elected officials are able to do anything that they want to do. You can't be angry when someone takes control of your life and [00:16:05] what happens with your money and your living situation, and they run with it if you keep silent. So I would encourage because I know that people like that, that got on there and did all of the verbal attacks, their purpose was to make people scared to [00:16:22] speak and to intimidate people, and that just can't happen. So I tell anybody, vocalize your feelings, whatever it is going on, if you have a problem with something, speak about it, talk about it, and make sure that your voice is heard. [00:16:40] >> Speaker 1: So well said. Miss Malone, thank you so much for your time today, and thank you for your leadership. >> Speaker 2: I appreciate you. Thank you for allowing me to join you. >> Speaker 3: Absolutely.
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