On Saturday (Dec. 5), Putnam for Black Lives hosted a food drive on the steps of the Putnam County Historic Courthouse in Carmel. Several members and allies stood on the steps for two hours to accept donations for food pantries, where demand is higher than ever because of the pandemic.
Soon after the drive began, a group of 20 to 30 men, many unmasked and wearing fatigues and yellow attire associated with the far-right organization known as the Proud Boys, assembled across the street, waving flags that conjured their apparent ideal era of the Confederacy. They screamed epithets and anti-gay slurs, called the volunteers “communists” and chanted “Four more years!” through a megaphone. An (unmasked) police officer confirmed that the protesters knew it was a food collection.
We understand these men are deeply depressed that their chosen leader did not win the election and that their intensely toxic masculinity makes it impossible for them to express that sadness in any way other than through exhibitions of displaced anger. But, hopefully, no person of any political persuasion would think it acceptable to disrupt such an event, and especially to shout slurs at a group of largely young adult (some LGBTQ+) volunteers.
Those who agree are welcome to show up on Saturday (Dec. 12) at Drew United Methodist Church on Gleneida Avenue in Carmel to donate food, household items or gift cards to help families who are struggling this holiday season.
As the number of COVID-19 cases in our county soars, Putnam for Black Lives thought it prudent to hold off on large weekly demonstrations to instead focus on direct action in the community. To all who feel called at this moment to shout down food drives, the least you could do for our county, and the country that you claim to love, is to wear masks while we dangerous, commie antifa radicals help to ensure local families are fed.
Eileen McDermott, Mollie Toscano, Tahj Arnold
Chloe Charles, Shyane Allick, Anthony Ayala
Kaitlin Balfe, Jill Pino, Aaron Lurin, Brewster
Sofia Sanchez, Jim Wise, James Owen Carmody, Carmel
Erick Boustead, Kent