McKissic addresses racist, anti-Semitic comments posted during BHM webinar

A recent display of racism during a virtual Black History Month event left community leaders assured that racism continues to play a divisive role in Owensboro. This particular incident came during a home-buying empowerment forum hosted by the H. L. Neblett Community Center in partnership with Owensboro Black Expo and the Northwest Neighborhood Alliance that featured a panel of a handful of Black community members and leaders. . . The panelists were attacked repeatedly with racial slurs and other offensive speech by some viewers, first through the public comment section via Zoom. . . Once officials were able to stop the offenders from posting publicly in the comment section, the racial slurs were sent directly to the panelists themselves in the question-and-answer component. According to Neblett Center Executive Director Olga McKissic, the N-word was sent more than 75 times. Other messages as seen in screenshots shared with Owensboro Times included white power as well as the F-word and a slur for Jewish people, among other things. . . McKissic took screenshots of the usernames of those whod written the racial slurs and filed a police report with the Owensboro Police Department. According to OPD Public Information Officer Andrew Boggess, We have a report and it is being looked at and investigated. . . McKissic said 286 different people viewed the virtual forum through Zoom the video can also be seen on Facebook, though the comments could only be seen on the Zoom platform. She said she wasnt sure whether the racial slurs came from a local source or not. What we do know is that it happened here on a Black History Month event, she said. This is whats happening in todays time, right here in Owensboro. Regardless of where the racist remarks came from, McKissic said, the facts of the matter were simple. Racism still exists, and it isnt going away. These are things that continue to happen, she said, noting the recent vandalism that contained racial slurs painted over the mural at Kendall Perkins Park. It happens right here in Owensboro. This is part of a culture that is evil, and mean, and nasty. McKissic commended the panelists for pushing through the racist comments and continuing on with their program as planned. She said those in the Black community had become resilient in the face of adversity, and that the panelists exemplified that strength during the forum. I feel that we rise above all of that, McKissic said. When they go low, we go high. Despite the racist acts that took place, the forum provided sound advice to hundreds of residents who submitted genuine questions about the importance of home ownership. McKissic called the event awesome and bragged on the panelists for being professional and helpful to those seeking guidance. McKissic said she knew that racism was a learned behavior, one that was oftentimes passed down generationally through family members and friends. The morning after the forum, McKissic said she took the time to pray for those who had exemplified racist behavior. We cant let things like that continue to affect us negatively, she said. God tells us we are to love our enemies, and we are to pray for them.

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