Library officials have told Nashville’s chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement that meetings restricting those who attend by race aren’t allowed on public property.
The decision has outraged Black Lives Mattermembers. But Nashville Public Library officials said they’re following a library policy that specifies all meetings at their facilities must be open to the public and news media.
“The library didn’t cancel anyone’s meeting,” said library spokeswoman Emily Waltenbaugh, referring to a Black Lives Matter meeting Saturday that has been moved to a church. “We’re taxpayer funded. We have to be open to anyone any time.”
For the past few months, the Black Lives Matter movement here has had chapter meetings at the North Branch Library.
But the group has a rule, said Joshua Crutchfield, an organizer of the Nashville chapter: Only blacks or other minorities are allowed to attend. That means whites are excluded.
Someone complained this week to the library system about the Black Lives Matter policy, prompting a library employee to inform the group of the library policy. Rather than open the meetings, the group decided to move less than a mile away to Dixon Memorial United Methodist Church.
“Due to white supremacy in our local government, this week’s BLM General Body Meeting location has changed,” a notice posted on the Nashville chapter of Black Lives Matter’s Facebook page reads. The notice says the group’s meetings are “open to black and non-black people of color only.”