Church attendees in Alabama turn backs to Bloomberg as he tries to pander
Screen capture … Mike Bloomberg at the pulpit, while several attendees at the Selma church service stand and turn their backs on him … Credit: WKRG

Vote-buying Democrat billionaire Mike Bloomberg literally got the cold shoulder from several church-goers on Sunday in Selma, Alabama.

The historic black “Brown Chapel AME Church” was packed with worshipers and reporters so when several people in the pews demonstrably rose up and turned their backs on Bloomberg as he spoke from the pulpit, there was no hiding the fact that many in the community hold the former mayor of New York in disdain for past behaviors they find offensive and racist.

President Trump was among the multitude of social media observers who cheered the actions of at least 10 protesters who quietly and dramatically made their point without any raucous disruptions to the event meant to mark the 55th anniversary of the March 7, 1965 Bloody Sunday March in Selma that resulted in the police beatings of blacks who were marching for the right to vote.

Bloomberg’s speech was focused on racial injustices and trying to sell his policies he said were aimed at addressing inequality. However, critics continue to rebuke Bloomberg and point toward his racially discriminatory “stop and frisk” policies while he was mayor and subsequent comments defending and trying to justify the practice.

Those in the church who chose to protest the presidential candidate on Sunday did it because of those controversial policies.

“I was sitting there really wrestling with the fact that 55 years ago 600 or more people assembled at this church and they prayed and prepared to be brutalized by Alabama state troopers about a half a mile up the bridge,” protester Ryan Haygood told the Montgomery Advertiser. “Then comes Michael Bloomberg who when he was the mayor of New York City presided over those very kinds of police brutality practices and policies. So in my mind, I thought, though I was surprised to see him come through the doors, I thought he would use this space to atone for that.”

At the point that it seemed Bloomberg was not going to use his speech to try to “atone,” Haygood stood up and faced the back of the church. Others around him and in other places in the church followed his lead.

“There’s a direct connection to the police brutality on Bloody Sunday and that brutality he presided over in New York City. So I thought he would lean into the moment, to really acknowledge it, take responsibility for it and atone for it,” said Haygood. “And not only did he not do that, it was clear to me that he wasn’t even going to address the issue at all. And so I wrestled with it. So I felt like I had to do something to acknowledge that that’s not OK especially in this sacred space. This is a space that changed the world.”

Other than stumbling over his words and pausing for moment in his speech when he noticed the attendees standing, Bloomberg did not acknowledge the protest.

“I think he came in with prepared remarks. I don’t think he thought carefully about the audience,” Haygood concluded. “He could have given that speech anywhere. This is not anywhere. There’s a reason why every year, you get the highest elected officials in the land, all the candidates for president, I think, they all came. There’s a reason they come to this church. It’s because the people here have power and the history is powerful, and the history informs the present. So he’s not free to dismiss what he did as the mayor of one of the largest city’s in the country. Hundreds of thousands of lives devastated and he could have atoned for that here. It was a missed opportunity for him.”

The Brown Chapel AME Church played a pivotal role in the civil rights marches in Alabama in the mid-1960s that helped lead to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Watch the silent protest here …

Video by WKRG



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