Fourth town hall to address York County racism set for Thursday
FILE PHOTO: Chad Dion Lassiter, PHRC Executive Director, (right) speaks to the heckling of a man claiming to represent the Ku Klux Klan (left) during the “No Hate in Our State” Social Justice Town Hall meeting at the Crispus Attucks Community Center, Wednesday, September 26, 2018. (Cameron Clark/The York Daily Record)
(Harrisburg) — The state’s top civil rights enforcement agency is planning a town hall meeting Thursday night in response to racist fliers circulated about a midstate town’s first African American mayor.
It’s the fourth such meeting in the last year for York County.
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) launched its “No Hate in Our State” town hall series in the fall after a string of racially charged incidents in the county.
The incidents included a former county commmissioner calling the police on a group of African American women golfing, the KKK distributing fliers calling for racial segregation, and the shooting and killing of a white man outside a bar in Hallam Township after he defended a black friend.
Chad Dion Lassiter, executive director of the PHRC, said they’re returning because of fliers accusing Hanover’s Mayor Myneca Ojo of “destroying” the city with “anti-white” policies.
Lassiter said the attack speaks, in part, to a changing America.
“What we see in Hanover is that we get an African American, female mayor and then all of a sudden we see these fliers emerge, we see intimidation,” Lassiter said.
Ojo was selected by council to fill the role after the previous mayor stepped down last year.
Lassiter says one goal of the gathering is to show communities that coming together is powerful.
“Showing a united front speaks back to hate,” he said. “And so, that’s the thing: hate will be on watch because hate will know that, hey, there’s community folks who are coming together.”
Panelists at the town hall will share their stories and provide tactics for dealing with racist language and acts.
The meeting is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Guthrie Memorial Library in Hanover. It is open to the public.