City leaders face backlash over stance on Black Lives Matter movement

SA City councilmen face backlash over stance on Black Lives Matter movement

SAN ANTONIO – Two San Antonio City Council members were the recipients of anger for their positions over the Black Lives Matter movement and other recent controversial issues that have recently surfaced during city meetings.

On Tuesday District 9 councilman John Courage posted a message to his Facebook page setting the record straight on the recent decisions he’s made including his decision to raise his fist in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter group during a June 25th meeting.

“I believe that Black lives matter. I believed Black lives mattered before I ever heard the term Black lives matter. I will continue to believe Black lives matter. Just as I believe all lives matter,” his statement explained. He says there’s a misunderstanding by some voters who wrote to him about what the group and movement is about.

“There’s no manifesto. There’s no crowd or group that I’m gonna allow to, you know, ramrod our city government. I’m going to vote the way I believe it’s going to be in the best interest of the entire community and with the understanding of my community,” he explained.

The former history teacher also explained why he voted in support of the removal of the Christopher Columbus statute.

“Over time, the evaluation of history, the understanding of history, looking at the repercussions of history helps us understand today what the meaning of that history may be to us and how that may cause, you know, some changes in how we recognize that history,” he explains.

He further explained why he does not support the defunding of the police department as some have requested, but rather a change in the hiring and disciplinary process moving forward.

District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry also sparked some anger from people during that June meeting, when he did not raise his fist in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Speakers that day threaded to protest at his door step and his community and they eventually did.

“Until your neighbors start telling you Perry what are these angry black and brown people doing in our neighborhood meetings they are going to be asking you to step down,” one speaker said in that meeting.

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Perry issued a statement in part apologizing to his neighbors for the disruption.

“I apologize to any neighbor who felt uncomfortable. While I support everyone’s right to peacefully assemble, I believe neighborhoods are not the best forums for protests. I recognize the need for these conversations and respect the people from all over the community who are seeking positive change - count me as one of them. In order for us to work on making these changes together, it is critical that we respect each other’s differences and realize that while sometimes we will not agree, we are still trying to move the needle in the right direction. The District 10 Team has an open door policy; that hasn’t changed in the 3 years since we started our work in the District. I am happy to meet with anyone to discuss these and other important issues in our community. We are committed to being advocates for accountability and pledge to continue being active and engaged voices for our residents.”

Courage also adding that the best way people can use their anger, is by taking it to the polls through the electoral process or initiating a recall process.

“That’s more of an appropriate method of saying we don’t think X should be representing us in the community. And that also allows more likely the majority of people in the community to be involved in that decision, not just a few who are loud and who are passionate and are on somebody’s doorstep,” he explained.

About the Author:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.