'Consider children of color:' Black parents in Wake County push to keep school mask mandates

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- This group of concerned and largely Black parents and community leaders from Wake County saw and heard the fiery feedback at last month's Wake school board meeting from moms and dads who said the district is taking COVID safety too far.

The message tonight: "You don't speak for us."

The group gathered on Zoom for a virtual venting of frustration with the heated debate over whether to mandate masks in schools.
"1,057 voices that say, we want masks in public schools," said Geraldine Alshamy, the event's organizer and long-time advocate for parents of color in Raleigh.

Alshamy was reporting the results of her group's petition and survey of parents in Wake County's most vulnerable communities. The moms, dads and grandparents with an increased risk of COVID-19 infection; who can't afford to work from home or have their children do remote learning.

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With children under 12 still ineligible to get the COVID shot -- Alshamy and the parents made their case to keep the mask mandate at Wake schools; not risk kids bringing COVID home to immunocompromised family members.

"We should not be listening to the ignorance of anti-maskers who bully and threaten board members and try to intimidate them from supporting mask policies," Alshamy said.



Last month's Wake school board meeting on COVID safety was heated. A vocal group of parents spoke out against more masking.
"It is not your job to protect my child! That's my job! You don't get to do that," one woman said before smearing her wet mask on the lectern microphone in protest.

The message from this other group of parents tonight was COVID has disproportionately impacted their community: More cases and more death among Black and Brown people.

"I, the parent of a student of color who attends a Wake County school, would ask that you consider children of color who are at a heightened risk and maintain the mask mandate," said Mindy Fuller.

"I believe it's the right thing to do," said Bishop Harvey Spencer of Greater Love Church in Raleigh. "I believe (masks) are the wisest thing to do. And I believe it's the Godly thing to do."

Monday's gathering comes ahead of Tuesday night's Wake school board meeting. As is required under state law -- the board is scheduled to take its monthly vote on whether to keep or drop the district's mask mandate.

Monday, these parents put their vote on the record.

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