An email sent by Melany Stowe, Public Information & Community Engagement Officer, seemingly on behalf of Orange County Public School’s Chief Equity Officer Dr. Dena Keeling to all school staff details implementation of “Affinity Spaces” for staff.
The email goes on to say that an “Affinity Space” is a “safe space where people who share an identity can talk and support each other through individual and collective healing.”
It would seem that what Keeling and Stowe mean by this is that these safe spaces will be racially segregated, as evidenced by the quote attributed to Keeling in the letter:
“Given what I highlighted above, our first Affinity Space is for African American Staff. We are making these African American Affinity Spaces available starting this week and we will continue to make these spaces available throughout the year.” Dr. Dena Keeling
The email opens with an irresponsibly inaccurate and incomplete description of the events surrounding the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the subsequent riots:
“Jacob Blake, African American male, was shot in the back 7 times by police in front of his children.”
Blake was shot multiple times after ignoring commands, resisting arrest, and ultimately reaching for a knife in the floorboard of his car. The officers were trying to arrest him for violating a restraining order stemming from an open warrant for an alleged felony sexual assault. The NY Post has a graphic account of what Blake allegedly did.
In the next line in the Stowe/Keening email is another simplistic and misleading sentence:
“During the protests of Blake’s shooting, armed white men walked down the street with guns and killed two people and injured a third person.”
Armed white men just didn’t wander down the road shooting people. This is a gross mischaracterization.
The unrest in Kenosha that followed the shooting involved Black Lives Matter activists, Antifa, and a host of bad actors. The situation quickly escalated into massive cases of arson with entire businesses burned out.
Armed citizen volunteers went to Kenosha to protect other businesses from the rioters, which led to a violent series of attacks by rioters and Antifa. One such attack included Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old who was accosted by half a dozen individuals, had a molotov cocktail thrown at him, a person assaulted him with a skateboard, and another advanced o him with a pistol. Rittenhouse shot several of the attackers and killed two of them.
To be kind, Stowe and Keeling’s description is woefully simplistic and completely one-sided. A very thorough accounting of these events surrounding the Rittenhouse shootings was compiled by the NY Times which could easily have been accessed by Stowe or Keeling. Court documents, more images, and more video have also surfaced shown Rittenhouse clearly defending himself against multiple assailants.
Here’s the full letter: