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'Don't talk to me like I'm a slave': Minneapolis Parks Board meeting gets awkward [VIDEO]

Nekima Levy-Pounds was told there was no public comment portion. So she made one up.

Nekima Levy-Pounds was told there was no public comment portion. So she made one up.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board sure sounds like it would be one of the least interesting public meetings to attend. 

What are they even fighting about? Lawnmower brands? The prettiest flowers? 

That wasn't how it looked last night. A group of protesters, led by Nekima Levy-Pounds, head of the Minneapolis NAACP and a leader with the local Black Lives Matter movement, arrived to confront the board with allegations of racism.

Levy-Pounds has said the parks board is running a "Jim Crow system," which treats the department's black employees differently than white ones. One woman says she was demoted unfairly and then fired, MPR reports. Other criticisms claim the parks board has discriminatory budgeting that underfunds parks on the city's north side.

Levy-Pounds wanted to make this case directly to parks commissioners yesterday. Parks board president Liz Wielinski did not take kindly to this idea. For starters, Wielinski said she's already denied accusations of racism.

More immediately, there was no time allotted for the kind of public testimony Levy-Pounds was offering. Levy-Pounds started speaking up anyway. Wielinski tried explaining why she couldn't. It got uncomfortable pretty fast.

"No!" Wielinski screams, on video of the incident. It also sounds like the board president, off camera, slammed her hand into the table. "I'm tired of this! You keep interrupting our meeting."

"Don't talk to me like I'm a slave," Levy-Pounds says.

Wielinksi: "I'm not talking to you like you're a slave. I'm talking to you like you're a rude, interrupting person!"

Levy-Pounds: "I'm not your child."

Wielinski: "You are a rude, interrupting adult!"

Levy-Pounds said Wielinski was only speaking to her that way because of "white supremacy."

"It's not white supremacy," Wielinski said. "It's professionalism."

Levy-Pounds, now standing in the center of the room, pressed on. 

"You all brag about being the number one park board in the country," she said. "In a very diverse city such as Minneapolis, we look around the table and every single one of you is white. How can you effectively represent the people of the city of Minneapolis when we're not at the table?"

Levy-Pounds continued, giving what amounted to the public testimony she'd wanted to give, but was told she couldn't. Wielinski sat there, arms folded, as supporters of Levy-Pounds circulated, filming the whole thing. Later, Wielinksi reached for her own phone and started filming them right back.

It's a good idea. If this kind of drama is what we've been missing at parks board meetings, everyone should be filming.

The justice of injustice ! Nekima Levy-Pounds Vs. MPRB President. This is a must watch video, it will open your eyes. Nekima, keep "Pounding!"

Posted by Hashim Yonis on Wednesday, May 11, 2016