Black Lives Matter support gathering draws 60 people

Neighbor's post sparks meeting

June 9, 2020 Cranberry Living

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A potentially offensive post on an app that connects neighbors spurred Brianna Minnock of Seven Fields into organizing a meeting to discuss ways to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Minnock said one of her neighbors posted “See something, say something” on the Nextdoor app and when she checked into the man's meaning of the phrase, she was incensed.

“It was about a man who calls the police on people who he deems do not belong here,” she said. “He thought looters were coming here.”

Sensing a possible racial overtone in the post, which she said became contentious between the neighbor and herself, she reserved the borough's pavilion for 7 p.m. this past Sunday.

“I expected five other mothers to show up,” Minnock said. “We had 60 people.”

She said everyone at the meeting spoke, including about eight residents who shared their stories of discrimination in southwestern Butler County.

“Let's talk about the hard stuff,” Minnock said of her goals for the group. “Let's talk about what is really important in this community, which is a focus on kindness and support of minority groups.”

The next meeting is at 7 p.m. Sunday at the pavilion.

“The people coming to this are far left, far right and everywhere in the middle,” Minnock said. “I don't want it to be an echo chamber. If you don't like black people or you don't like white people, let's talk about it.”

She said officers from the Evans City-Seven Fields Police Department, plus Tom Smith, borough manager, helped her set up for the meeting. “This is pro-police, pro-people, pro-black, pro-everyone,” Minnock said. “Everyone is welcome.”

Regarding the turnout, Minnock thinks people are tired of an undercurrent of racism in the county and the incidents across the nation.

“I think everyone is sick of black men being murdered,” she said.

Minnock distributed “homework” to those who attending. That assignment causes families to look inward regarding whether they are doing their best to support minorities.

Sonia Jaiswal, a Cranberry Township resident and six-year volunteer with the Cranberry Area Diversity Network, spoke about the need for frank conversations about diversity and racism.

“I'm glad people are comfortable standing up and talking about their experiences,” Jaiswal said. “Nobody should be living in fear.”

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Paula Grubbs

Paula Grubbs

Paula Grubbs is a Butler County native who has been with the Butler and Cranberry Eagle newspapers since June 2000. Grubbs has covered the Mars School District and Middlesex Township for over 20 years with the Eagle and her former employer, the Cranberry Journal. She also covers Adams Township, Evans City and Mars in addition to events and incidents throughout Southwestern Butler County as assigned. Grubbs has taken the lead at the Cranberry Eagle in reporting on shale gas development, which has been a hotly debated topic in the recent past, both locally and nationally. A 1979 graduate of Butler Senior High School and a 1994 graduate of Geneva College, Grubbs has won a Golden Quill and four Keystone state awards, plus an award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Grubbs enjoys following the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers, volunteers with the Connoquenessing Creek Cleanup each summer, and loves spending time outdoors and bird watching at her Penn Township home. Grubbs is the daughter of James R. Davis Sr., of Center Township, and the late Maxine Davis. She has two grown children, Jacqueline and Thomas.