BLM Nashville Statement on Library Meeting Space Cancellation 

After several months of meeting at the North Branch library, on Wednesday (2/19), the Nashville Chapter of Black Lives Matter was contacted through email and by phone that library administrators received complaints regarding BLM’s policy of general meetings being open to black and non-black people of color only. Although meeting rooms are available to local organizations for use of a “cultural” nature, we were informed that “due to the library policy of open meetings for meeting room use,” all future meetings held at the library would be cancelled.” Ironically, all cancelled dates were in February during Black History Month. The Nashville Chapter of BLM has this policy in place to center the voices and experiences of people of color that have historically been excluded or segregated within supposedly public spaces. Black and/or people of color only spaces are often questioned and viewed with suspicion, though there is seldom any interrogation of white-only board rooms and staffs. However, we view these spaces as integral to healing and community building, particularly to those who have experienced racialized violence and ardently maintain this policy as imperative to the work and mission of BLM. 
We understand and even honor the importance of the library as an invaluable site of accessible information, community events, and safe space, often especially for disenfranchised people without homes and people of color, but if it cannot or will not support our values we will continue to meet elsewhere.

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20 thoughts on “BLM Nashville Statement on Library Meeting Space Cancellation 

  1. I am a caucasian american, native of Nashville, and supporter of civil rights. I grew up in the 60’s and my mother instilled in me respect for all people regardless of race, creed, or color. She was active in the civil rights movement and we travelled to Alabama to listen to Dr. King speak. I find myself outraged to find out that i’m not welcome to come to your meetings because i’m white. I have always, in the past supported cicil rights, and in particular “black lives matter” but i am forced to rethink my loyalties. I cannot support an organization which is blatantly RACIST! FIGHT THE POWER!!!!! all my love,
    Stephen Bishop

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      • If that is truly the case, and some leaders find the “white supremacy” comments completely ridiculous, then they need to say something. People like this are destroying the notion of true racism, which we all know exist. You can’t scream racism every time you don’t get your way and that’s exactly what these people are doing. This is a taxpayer funded building and to assume that you are somehow entitled to have racist meetings there is simply wrong. Their “thoughts” behind this is that the room is used by all white groups, such as businesses, yet these groups don’t put up signs that say “white only”, it just happens that there aren’t any blacks in this particular group. It’s high time that some true leadership comes to the front of this “movement” because right now it’s just case after case of “The Boy That Cried Racism”. Sooner or later none of us are going to pay attention because of false accusations like this.

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  2. As a BLM ally, my heart is with you. As a librarian, my head is with them. It’s a tough situation. I hope you find somewhere safe to meet soon.

    Can I suggest contacting your local A.M.E., Unitarian Universalist, or other sympathetic/empathetic church and asking if you can use their space? Many activist groups in my area meet in UU meetinghouses and are never charged for it, and there’s never a bit of interference from the congregations.

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  3. If you are going to exclude members of the PUBLIC (aka white people) then find a venue with no funding from PUBLIC tax dollars. Its not that hard to understand. But of course this will be made out to seem as if it is racial profiling… ridiculous

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  4. Just a quick question… did you sign the meeting room form that everyone signs to get a reservation?

    http://www.library.nashville.org/newamericans/partnerMeetingRoomForm.pdf

    Rule #3 says that meetings need to be open to the press and public. So, you accepted the rules to get the reservation, but are now complaining in the press, trying to make the library look bad, merely because the library is enforcing the rules on the contract you signed?

    I support BLM but this makes the Nashville BLM look petty and wrong.

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  5. It is time to disband your little group and focus on everyone. Every one matters. Period! Unity is what we need…not diversity. All you are doing is fueling the prejudice and making matters worse by dividing this country. OPEN YOUR EYES AND LOVE ALL PEOPLE!

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  6. If I held a WHITE PEOPLE ONLY meeting anywhere in the USA then I would be considered “racist” by you blacks. There would be a media uproar by the PC police and there would be threats on the life, etc, until I was forced to open the meeting to “people of color”. WHY should “people of color” be allowed to break discrimination laws?

    You are just mad because you are being treated equally to whites when what you really want is to be treated with superiority!

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  7. Statements like the one being made above makes BLM, look childish and racist themselves. Trying to compare “white-only board rooms and staffs” to a public library not allowing you to discriminate is ridiculous. Get a clue, if you want to make real change you need to include everyone and not be hypocritical.

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  8. seems to me ,that you honor dr.king,but you don’t live by what he preached,riots,drive by shooting,looting,ect.,you wanted equlity and desegregation,but you are not living dr. king’s dream, you are going back to segregation,think about it.

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  9. “… in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

    So much for that. Thanks, BLM-Nashville. I see not much has changed in the last 52 years. Racism and ignorance are alive and well … along with irony.

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  10. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

    Oh wait, nevermind, we need racially segregated “safe spaces” that ban and judge people based on the color of their skin and not on the content of their character.

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  11. I’m black, and I agree with the library. Black Lives Matter should be open to all supporters no matter what race they are. You’re not the KKK, so stop acting like it. If you want to make real change, then everyone should be invited to come. That’s the only way you’re going to get real change. You guys were in the wrong here. Nobody to blame but yourselves. I hope you clean up your act. I stand for what you guys are fighting for (equality and justice for all) but the way some of these BLM protesters is doing it is wrong. You guys are giving other BLM groups and supporters a bad name.

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  12. “open to black and non-black people of color only.”
    So no white people. Why don’t you just say “No Whites Allowed?”
    Are you not saying that because you don’t want to sound racist? Because… it STILL sounds racist. You realize that right?

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  13. BLM will suffer the same fate as Occupy Wall Street. There are so many rogue factions making their own rules and branding their own messages, the core message of the original BLM activists is essentially lost at this point. Most of us have no idea who truly speaks for BLM. More and more the BLM franchise is making news for the wrong reason, this case being just one of many. However, anti-white sentiment continues to grow through its ranks, which is truly sad for BLM members whose main goal is to create inclusion throughout society. I know there are a lot of good people involved in BLM, but fringe groups like the Nashville chapter are destroying the original message(s). When I hear “BLM” now — versus a year ago — positive change is not the first thing that comes to mind.

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  14. Pingback: Black Lives Matter Banned from Nashville Library for 'Black Only' Meetings Policy

  15. Pingback: Black Lives Matter kicked out of Nashville library | Fusion

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