Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Hispanics not welcome, say some Springfield officials (CORRECTED)

CORRECTION: Springfield, not Shelbyville, is where these events took place

In two stories (here and here), WKRN reports on two Springfield officials' suggestion that Hispanics should be excluded from city parks.

"In last month's Mayor and Aldermen Meeting on July 18, City Manager Paul Nutting and at least one Alderman made negative comments about the large number of Hispanics that populate the park on the weekends."

"In last month's city meeting, Alderman Ken Cherry expressed concerns for safety in the parks because of the big Hispanic crowds on weekends. Monday, he admitted his sentiments are not limited to the parks. He said, 'If I could do what I wanted to do, any illegal alien would be holed up in a barbwire tent and we'd haul them up to where they came from and turn them loose.'"

"When asked to comment on the possibility that not every Hispanic using the park was an 'illegal immigrant', Alderman Cherry responded, 'If they're speaking Spanish, I tend to think they are illegal.' ... On Tuesday he said, 'The comment that I made about if they're speaking Spanish they're illegal immigrants, that's probably a little strong. In my mind, that's an indication that the possibility may...

"Not all members of Springfield's Board of Mayor and Alderman, however, are in agreement with Cherry's position on the issue. Assistant City Manager Gina Holt said, 'If you polled all seven of them, they'd all have a totally different opinion probably and as a board they have not taken any action yet as far as establishing any policies related to the parks or any other services right now.'"

"Springfield's Board of Mayor and Aldermen plan to hold a community meeting on September 7 to discuss the issues they've encountered with what Alderman Cherry terms the 'growing Hispanic problem.' ... Assistant City Manager Gina Holt said the goal of the September 7 board meeting is to achieve an arrangement that is fair and equitable for all."

In the 1960's, Nashville closed its public swimming pools rather than allow them to be open to desegregated use.

Photo from The Fight in the Fields on PBS

Focus: Justice

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