Councilman Wants Nashville To Condemn White Supremacy

Councilman Opens Up About Death Threat
Posted at 1:31 PM, Aug 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-14 21:38:18-04

Metro At-large Council Member Bob Mendes said he had planned to propose a resolution to be considered in Tuesday night's city council meeting to publicly condemn white supremacy.

"It would be a statement on behalf of all of Nashville that we will not condone white supremacy here in Nashville," Mendes told NewsChannel 5. 

So far, one other council member was expected to join Mendes on the resolution. 

The proposal was in response to the violent weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia after white supremacy groups clashed with counter-protesters during a rally on campus at the University of Virginia. 

An anti-white nationalism protester, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, was killed in the demonstration when a 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. was accused of running a car through a crowd. 

"I was disgusted and revolted," Mendes added. "I think there was anger, there's sadness for the tragedy of people hurt and one dead, and fright and concern about what will happen in the future."

Mendes wrote a blog on his website condemning the actions and said "Racism and so-called "white supremacy" persist. It is reprehensible. It is intellectually and morally bankrupt."

The post was also to remind residents that racism and willingness to threaten people also exist in Tennessee.

"This isn't something that just happened 600 miles away, the forces at work are also in play here in Nashville and Tennessee," he said. 

The incidents in Charlottesville motivated Mendes to share his thoughts about recent threats and hate he and others faced when pushing for an immigration bill in June. 

The bill he primarily sponsored would prohibit the use of any funds and resources to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws unless it is required by the federal or state law. It would also keep members of the Metro government including the police department to ask about someone's immigration status. 

The controversial bill had to be withdrawn after Mendes said state politicians worked against it. 

"I received a death threat by email that was very specific that included my home address. It conveyed that I wouldn't live to see 2018," Mendes explained. "One immigrant rights activist received a death threat."

Mendes said he interacted with the police department but chose not to delve into specifics. 

"With what happened in Charlottesville, me remaining quiet about the level of hate I got in response to the immigration bill, being quiet about it is the wrong thing to do," he said. 

He did not want to reveal the threats at first because he said the legislation was not about him. Mendes also noted that what he went through pales in comparison to what minority groups face on a daily basis and would not want to downplay their experiences. 

To read his blog post, click on this link