PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - Members of the Georgetown NAACP held a news conference and protest calling for the resignation of Mayor Brian Henry.
Members of the group have a petition which calls for Henry to step down as mayor.
About 30 protesters are demanding the mayor resign with the effort being spearheaded by the NAACP Georgetown. President Marvin Neal said the words in the the mayor’s Facebook post amounted to hateful rhetoric and called him a racist.
The protesters are also saying they are not going to back down and will continue to demonstrate until the mayor resigns.
“I want to answer a question of why we are doing what we’re doing and what do we expect from the mayor Pawleys Island? We simply expect him to resign,” Georgetown NAACP branch Second Vice President Marilyn Hemingway said. “Why are we asking him to resign? Because of the racial rant that he posted on Facebook, and people need to realize and understand that in this time in history in Pawleys Island, Georgetown County and our nation that we seek justice, we seek to raise the voice of those who are marginalized and the mayor needs to realize that he endangered the lives of black folks and people of color.”
The calls for Henry’s resignation stem from what some called “racially-insensitive” remarks he made on Facebook. Henry commented on a recent Georgetown shooting that left a father and his stepdaughter dead and one other person wounded. In the now-deleted Facebook post, Henry allegedly said that because a black man was accused of shooting white people, there was no outrage. Some called for Henry’s resignation because of the post, which also referred to the group Black Lives Matter as a “terror organization.”
A Moncks Corner man faces charges in the shooting. Investigators say a traffic accident led to the fatal incident.
On Sept. 3, Henry, with his wife, Sassy, held a news conference on the backlash.
“I want to start out by saying, I’m profoundly sorry for those offended with my post, last week,” he said. “My comments were hurtful and insensitive. Before I could stand here in front of you today, I needed to self reflect and reach out for dialogue and understand. I spent 10 days listening and learning. The conversations I’ve had with friends, our staff, our community, and faith-based leaders, provided me with a deeper understanding of racial inequality, and the importance of diversity sensitivity, which is very much needed to heal Pawleys Island, Georgetown and our country.”
Some have also called for a boycott of the Palmetto Cheese company that the Henrys own.
Henry announced at the news conference that they would be creating a foundation to honor the memory of Veltrella Brown, whose image appears on Palmetto Cheese labels. The scope of the foundation, he said, will be to “improve race relations through community events and by providing scholarship opportunities for young people in the community, offering grants to help other aspiring entrepreneurs get their products on grocery store shelves and assisting local food bank programs.”