June 24, 2024

Protester in Black Lives Matter shirt interrupts event for Black Buttigieg supporters

Pete Buttigieg
Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a town hall meeting, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, in Denison, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

A demonstrator wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt constantly interrupted an event at the held by South Bend, Ind., Black supporters of Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

The event was held to combat the nationwide narrative that the Democratic presidential candidate did not have the backing of Black residents in his own city. Speeches included details of the mayor’s programs to help Black areas and to shine positivity on interactions with his administration during his tenure. Those speeches were interrupted.

READ MORE: White House hopeful Buttigeig pleads for help reaching Black electorate

NBC News reports the protestor, who showed up with a handful of others held signs and yelled his opposing beliefs during the program. The statements issued surrounded policing, poverty and homelessness.

The Washington Post said the first interruption came 10 minutes into the event when Sharon McBride was aiming to discuss the good the mayor has done for the Black community and she was interrupted.

“Where are the black leaders who don’t have three-piece suits, leather jackets, and nice clothing,” said the protestor who grabbed the microphone out of McBridge’s hands.  Several local South Bend news outlets identified the man as Igor Rodriguez. It is unclear if he is  a member of any organized Black Lives Matter chapter.

McBride stated the interjection was demeaning, but it also added of curiosity of Buttigieg’s relationship with African Americans. That conversation already includes low polling numbers among Black voters and opposition by the Black citizens in his home base.

The microphone was taken from the protestor and he was escorted out yelling “this is a farce” and also request those in attendance to ask about his record in regards to Black people and police violence.

“One thing you will not do with me is run me out of here,” McBride responded once she got the microphone back.

The event was organized by Gladys Muhammad who managed the event space and was shoved during the incident.

“They could have paid for the center and had a Black Lives Matter meeting, too. I can deal with it,” Muhammad told The South Bend Tribune.

READ MORE: Buttigieg speaks at Black college in push to boost support

Muhammad stated she hosted the event in reaction to the national coverage.

“One of the things that people kept coming and telling me is that they keep putting in the national media that African-Americans and Blacks in South Bend do not support Mayor Pete,” she said. “Well, there are plenty of people in the community that do support Mayor Pete and we needed to change that dialogue, and let the people that do support Mayor Pete talk about their personal experiences with him.”

Buttigieg was not present at the South Bend event responded stating the moment was an example of the “climate that we’re in” and also dubbed it “unfortunate.”

“It shows kind of where politics has come to, especially for somebody to interrupt an African American woman who was speaking about her truth and in her experience,” Buttigieg said.

The event was not initiated by the campaign, as confirmed by spokeswoman Marisol Samayoa, but was promoted by the campaign. It was also attended by nine staff members.

Elsewhere in the nation, Buttigieg is at the top of the polls in Iowa after the surge and is near the top in New Hampshire, but is still struggling to gain the support of Black voters across the nation.

About The Author

Past Interviews

Download Our New App!

Umoja Radio Amazon Mobile AppUmoja Radio Amazon Mobile AppUmoja Radio Android Mobile AppUmoja Radio iPhone Mobile AppUmoja Radio iPhone Mobile App