Worse, a far-right extremist was given a seat on the board. Aside from using her platform to spew hatred, she is actively trying to bring the board down.
It’s Friday, y’all. That means we have a whole new level of batshit crazy coming at you. This time, it’s from Anna, Texas. Last year, during the wake of the drama surrounding the Confederate statue in McKinney, Anna formed a Diversity and Inclusion board.
Here is their stated mission: The mission of the City of Anna Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Commission is to engage and energize all neighbors, create dialogue opportunities among community members, support and enhance cultural diversity, provide a vehicle for neighbors to listen and learn about all persons, and ultimately ensure Anna is a community that is truly welcoming to all who live, work, serve, and visit here.
Cool, right? Where America is in 2021, all towns should have a Diversity and Inclusion Board. We’re all for it. However, the far-right in Anna has rejected this board and somehow implanted one of their own to bring the board down. Although the board is fairly new, they’ve had a few meetings and a couple of newsletters. The audio from their meeting on March 2nd was leaked and it truly is something to behold.
Josh Vollmer, City Councilman, Place 2 started the meeting.
Vollmer said that he wanted to talk about the purpose of the board, he talked about unity and feedback he’s gotten. He wanted to stress that the diversity inclusion board is not a political action committee and a lot of people have spoken up against or for the board in city council meetings. Vollmer made it clear that there are to be no politics and if the board members couldn’t act in ways to unify the city of Anna, then they should resign. Then he said people have been emailing him screenshots from social media.
Vollmer went on to say how the last two city council meetings had been full of neighbor comments about the diversity inclusion board. Was there?
Let’s take a look.
Going back to the city council meeting on 2/9/2021, the people who spoke at the meeting during the “neighbor comments” it seemed that people were outraged over a newsletter that was sent out by the Diversity and Inclusion Board.
The first speaker read some of the newsletter and then went on to say, that they were upset because national politics were brought in, the newsletter was one-sided, and it didn’t represent their town or unity. She concluded by saying anyone who supported the 45th president came out looking bad and she didn’t see a purpose for the board, because she didn’t think Anna had racial issues.
Where have we heard, “our town isn’t racist,” before? From white people in places like Gainesville, Weatherford, and Kaufman, usually while they were committing racist acts.
However, let’s be objective.
What is this newsletter she was referring to?
The Newsletter from the Diversity and Inclusion Board that came out on the first of February. The Chair of the Board, Dyanne Lockridge, wrote this article in it.
Y’all read this article. We’ve read it several times. It’s factually correct AND important to talk about if there is to be unity.
So, let’s talk about what she said. She mentioned “national politics” and how they had no place in Anna.
If “national politics” never took place in Anna, that would be fair. But we did some digging around, and in fact, national politics DID take place in Anna.
Trump people showed up at polls with Trump flags, to intimidate voters. And large groups of Trump supporters stood on bridges waving Trump flags, to let everyone who drove down the highway know exactly what kind of town Anna is.
If you openly and rabidly support a racist all over your town, including attempts to engage in voter intimidation in support of said racist, it’s absolutely a local issue and not a national one.
The speakers kept coming. They were ALL outraged over a factual letter that attempted to address why the community was divided. All of the speakers were white or white-passing, and they all made clear that they didn’t understand why there was a Diversity and Inclusion Board in Anna.
The overwhelming white fragility combined with lack of self-awareness at these meetings is astounding. In nearly every community in Texas last year, Trump supporters harassed, accosted, assaulted, and targeted both Democrats and people of color. Are we supposed to believe that Anna was an exception, despite there being photographic evidence that would suggest otherwise?
One angry woman even came up to the mic and spouted every QAnon lie she ever heard from OAN and NewsMax, from Nancy Pelosi to Joe Biden, to Black Lives Matter.
She concluded by saying Anna is a warm and inviting community. The lack of self-awareness from these people is simply mind-blowing.
They spoke using whataboutism and used lie after lie from right-wing media to prove their points or back their arguments. Every single one of these white people expressed how the Diversity and Inclusion Council wasn’t needed or welcome in their town and how appalled they were over the newsletter which mentioned Trump.
Is a Diversity and Inclusion Council needed in Anna?
Not only is it needed, much of the leadership in Anna has been a source of both hate and divisiveness.
This is a newspaper clip from the Anna Melissa Tribune after the last election, where the City Councilman of Place 3, Stan Carver, bragged about having ties directly with Donald Trump’s campaign. He said, “I never leveraged that muscle because a councilman needs to represent all of Anna.” Obviously, the irony of his statement escaped him.
Carver wasn’t the only city councilman, who is supposed to be non-partisan, but partook in partisan behavior or rhetoric.
Kevin Totem, Anna City Councilman, Place 1, has partaken in specifically deplorable and divisive online behavior.
He liked a social media post that called ALL Democrats stupid. If you are an Anna resident who believes in public education and access to healthcare, Kevin Totem thinks you’re stupid. You should remember that next time he’s up for reelection.
When confronted about liking that post, Totem responded to an Anna resident by saying, “I represent all people.”
Lack of self-awareness seems to be a much bigger problem in Anna than lack of inclusion. It’s repeated throughout every city council meeting, by every elderly white Trump supporter, and demonstrated by all of the screenshots which were sent to us.
Kevin Toten even publicly supported Shelley Luther.
You can find all of the videos captured by local activists, in the link about her hate rally in Gainesville above. Or you can click here.
Or if you really want to know about the type of people that supported Shelley Luther, you can check out this video:
Every single person in America, in Texas, and in Anna knows that in 2020 all over the country these types of rallies were held. Every single person in America, in Texas, and in Anna KNOWS the amount of hate and racism which thrived at these rallies.
Shelley Luther hosted multiple of these hate rallies all around SD30. Kevin Toten knew the kind of candidate Luther was, (which is why she lost), and knew the amount of divisiveness and hate which surrounded her campaign. Yet, he publicly supported her. But, he liked a post calling all Democrats stupid, which means he likely thinks all Democrats are stupid, so he’s probably riding on that hope that stupid Anna Democrats will never figure out how he really feels about them.
Back to the 2/9 city council meeting.
This is when it becomes obvious that there is a fox in the hen house.
A woman named Gina Maria approached the podium and introduced herself as a “friend, neighbor, and member of the Diversity Council.” She said she wanted her voice to be a guiding light for the city of Anna and the city council.
By saying this, one would think the next words which would have come out of her mouth would have been regarding any of the dozens upon dozens of racist incidents that took place in North Texas, last year, which included domestic terrorism by people who supported Trump.
Nope, that’s not what happened. Not only did she lie about some of the same things the speakers before her, but she also added racism into it.
Gina Maria asked everyone to close their eyes and read what the newsletter would have said if it had a right slant. This is a point where everyone reading this should pause and truly reflect on what being right-leaning in this country means. Because the statement that Gina Marie read wasn’t based on politics, it was based on lies, repeated again and again on right-wing media. It was as if she was asserting that the right-leaning political party only regurgitates hate and mistruths.
Here are some of the things she said, along with the fact-checks.
- “Constitutional foundations of our freedom, world economics, and businesses were destroyed by a virus, from China.”
- Saying it’s a China virus is racist. Period. For further reading on how and why it’s racist, see these articles on NCSU, Psychology Today, NBC News, Time, and New York Times.
- Because of this racist rhetoric, which began with Trump, hate crimes against Asian-American rose by 150% last year. Incidents of Asian-American hate crimes, last year, which stemmed from the racist thing that Gina Marie repeated include an 84-year old woman being pushed down the stairs, a mother spit on while holding a baby and being yelled at over the “China virus,” and another elderly woman being punched in the face.
- While the city council members have a duty to keep decorum, none of them interjected at the racist statement.
“Racial rioting and anarchy took place in cities throughout the United States.”
- This is a complete fabrication Gina Maria made up. I personally didn’t hear about any racial rioting and anarchy throughout the United States last year. So, I Googled.
- Black Past has done an amazing job documenting every racial riot from 1660 and on. They haven’t documented any racial riots in 2020.
- The Voice of America also has documented every race riot since 1965. They also have had not documented any racial riots in 2020.
- Unable to find these supposed “racial riots all throughout America,” last year, I finally went to the most untrusted source on the internet. Wikipedia. Under a Wikipedia article titled, “List of Ethnic Riots,” at the very bottom there was a link that said “2020 Riots.” However, when you click it, it redirects to “George Floyd Protests.” While it’s true that when the first protests at the end of May broke out, there were a few riots around the country. That was one weekend in 2020 and NONE of them were racial riots.
- The definition of “racial rioting,” is a public outbreak of violence between two ethnic groups in a community. Which definitely did not happen last year. As we all know, blue is the color of a shirt, not a life.
Gina Marie went on to talk about 47 people killed, police killed, businesses burned, and police defunded.
She said this in context with the non-existent racial riots she claimed took place all over America last year. None of that happened. 47 people killed? Police killed? It’s unknown whether this was something she heard or if she just completely fabricated it. Except for the police being defunded in a small handful of cities, which chose to allocate their money on better community resources, the other points were untrue.
- “A fraudulent election occurred and the media censored all public information.”
- This has been debunked so many times, the thought of debunking it again makes me want to puke. If you’d like to read about how the election wasn’t fraudulent, you should read FactCheck.org, Reuters, The AP, or PolitiFact.
- As you can see the media didn’t censor anything, they debunked every election lie.
- “Social Media banned Trump and censored our Conservative voices.”
- After Trump encouraged an insurrection and conspired with people who sought to kill elected officials, social media FINALLY banned Trump after a long time of letting him spreading lies, divisiveness, and encourage violence on their platforms.
- Not one social media platform banned Conservatives for their point of view. They were all banned for racism and coordinating the violent right-wing attacks we all witnessed last year. Not because they wanted low taxes and limited government.
“The insurrectionists on January 6th were tied to BLM and Antifa.”
Of course, Republicans love this lie. iT wAs AnTiFa. Of the 300+ Trump supporters arrested in connection with the January 6th insurrection, only one was accused of having “Antifa” ties. A live-steamer named John Sullivan. However, it’s a well-known fact and has been widely publicized that in the months prior to the insurrection that John Sullivan was a grifter, who was trying to get famous by using civil rights groups in Seattle and had caused problems for them, ultimately landing him on a national blacklist for civil rights and human rights groups to stay away from him.
Another Trump supporter who was arrested and charged with beating a police officer had confessed to intentionally dressing as Antifa, to try and blame the imaginary group for his crimes. The vast majority of those arrested have confessed to being a Trump supporter and said they believed it was what Trump wanted them to do.
“CNN physically altered the President’s speech and then played it over and over again to a gullible liberal audience.”
Here is the president’s speech, unaltered, and in its entirety, from a Fox News affiliate. Even though, we’ve all seen it by now. If you haven’t seen it, feel free to watch it. Trump encouraged the insurrection all the way up until January 6th and on January 6th.
Wooo. Gina Maria.
She ended her monologue of lies by urging people to compare and contrast what she said to the newsletter. She called it a “right slant.” Ok. Let’s compare.
The newsletter spoke about the incidents of hate, which not only happened in DC on January 6th but here in North Texas all throughout 2020. Incidents that were often encouraged by Trump, and always done in his name. These incidents have left many in Anna at the receiving end of racism, bigotry, and hate. Proving a Diversity and Inclusion Council is needed in Anna, just as it’s needed everywhere.
Gina Maria’s statement was full of inflammatory lies, racism, and anger.
At least she admitted her statement was divisive and inflammatory.
Unfortunately, it’s come to our attention that she didn’t say those things to make a point. She said them because she wanted to let people know how she truly felt.
Here is Gina Marie, partaking in the same voter intimidation at Anna polls on election day, that we mentioned previously in this article.
How did this woman even get on the Diversity and Inclusion Council in the first place?
Gina Marie said that since it was Black History Month, she expected the newsletter to contain something about the accomplishments of Black Americans.
She said this to an all-white city council with an all-white audience.
Because talking about the severity of racism Black Americans experienced during 2020 and why a Diversity and Inclusion Council was needed in Anna makes white people more uncomfortable than Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream speech.’
Gina Marie wanted everyone to know that she didn’t support that newsletter and she was angry that all of her Trumper friends thought it did.
That was the reason for her hate filled monologue of lies and racism.
What also was revealed was the reason she was placed on the committee, was because of some incidents the previous committee person engaged in, “but had nothing to do with the committee.” The previous committee person, Mark Mahar, resigned from the committee after some extremely hateful stuff he posted online.
It was interesting how she said, his action had nothing to do with the committee. Yet, they clearly show they did. How can a person be on a board of Diversity and Inclusion when they harbor that much hate? Gina Maria said even she wasn’t wanted on the council, because of her political beliefs, which was why the newsletter shocked her so much, and that all of those people there in that audience agreed with her.
Anyone want to guess how many people who showed up to that meeting and spoke were part of the Patriots for Trump Anna, TX?
Or how many of them were personal friends with Gina Maria, that she met while organizing or participating in Trump activities last year?
Sources from Anna tell us that all of the people who came and spoke at these meetings were friends of hers and recruited by her.
Sources also tell us that Gina Maria was placed on this council to try and tear it down from the inside.
The 2/23/2021 meeting.
The meeting started off with a city employee reading a statement about how any publications from the Diversity and Inclusion Council have to be approved by the city council first.
Did the people in Anna hear that? It is ok for your Diversity and Inclusion Council to talk about the “I Have A Dream,” speech, but if your Diversity and Inclusion Council talks about WHY THERE IS A NEED for a Diversity and Inclusion Council, the all-white city council will make sure you never see it.
White comfort above it all.
Then came a slew of comments from concerned citizens. All of it a repeat of the 2/9 meeting. You can see that video below.
Then, once again, Gina Maria took the mic.
We should ask again, why is this woman on the Diversity and Inclusion Council, in the first place? Secondly, why is she the one at city council meetings speaking on behalf of the council?
She made it clear from the beginning of her speech on 2/23 that she was speaking on behalf of the community who is angry about the Diversity and Inclusion Council.
Gina Maria said she was in a precarious position because she is on both sides of the fence. She’s for Diversity and Inclusion, but she’s also not. She said that when people, (her Trump friends), hear “Diversity and Inclusion,” they put their guards up. This leaves us to wonder if she ever asked herself why her Trump friends put their guards up when they hear DIVERSITY and INCLUSION.
After two city council meetings, the Diversity and Inclusion Council finally met for the first time since the newsletter.
There wasn’t video, but there was audio. There were angry, white Anna residents there to confront the Chair of this council, the Black woman who wrote the newsletter. Do you want to guess what was said?
If you listened to the city council meeting videos above, you heard it. Much of the same. One guy was angry that the newsletter talked about ending discrimination, another guy spoke about how evil Democrats are, and a third guy said told another resident, a man who said he was from Kenya, how he shot all of his friends overseas. After the third man spoke about shooting Black people overseas while in the military, it was reported he tried to stare down the 69-year old chairwoman. He didn’t stop there, he then spoke about shooting and killing all of the enemies in Anna.
This audio leaked from the 3/2/2021 Diversity and Inclusion meeting will likely be some of the most racist things you’ve heard in months, (it’s been quiet since Trump left office).
The safety of the Black community of Anna.
After seeing these meetings and hearing this audio, it is a natural reaction to be concerned about the Black community’s safety. Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that these racists have always been there, they’re just lashing out right now because of this council.
After hearing the severity of racism throughout these meetings, it is clear how bad a Diversity and Inclusion Council is needed.
If you live in Anna or the surrounding areas, I would encourage you to show up to these city council meetings and the Diversity and Inclusion Council meetings to support the Black and brown community and let them know you will stand against racism with them.
It’s especially important to understand that the chairwoman of this board, Dyanne Lockridge, is a 69-year old Black woman, and is being targeted by racist Trump supporters because she wrote a piece in a newsletter with FACTS (there was an insurrection, we’re divided, we need to work together). If you pray, pray for her. And if you see her in town, thank her for speaking the truth.
Her words of truth pushed all of the racists out of the weeds.
Some of us, think about brave women like Dyanne Lockridge and think about her life as a Texas Black woman born in 1951, and the racism she’s likely witnessed in her life. Living Blue in Texas has written extensively about what Texas was like for Black people, especially in rural Texas, in the last 50-years. Knowing that Lockridge is near 70-years old and at this point in her life is facing racism head-on, is inspiring. Although, when she took this position as chair, she likely didn’t know there would be such a huge racial backlash, she hasn’t stepped down, she’s stood strong, and she’s committed to making her community a better place.
The Black community in Anna deserve a safe and inclusive place to live in.
The Diversity and Inclusive Council does not have any power. All they do is make recommendations to the city council about how to make their town more inclusive. Then, it is up to the city council on whether or not they take those recommendations to make changes. The Diversity and Inclusion Council should be able to operate without attacks from racists and the far-right at their meetings, and Trump supporters attending every city council to urge for them to be disbanded.
The Diversity Inclusion Council members each also spoke at 3/2 meeting.
Including Gina Maria.
It was just as hateful as the speeches at the previous two city council meetings. Even worse, during the 3/2 meeting, Gina Maria claimed to have “half-Black children.” You might be incredibly alarmed hearing that Gina Maria has Black children, after listening to the audio and seeing her speeches from her in these meetings, including the racist things that she said.
Gina Maria is in her late-50s, so her children are now likely grown, but it doesn’t make her positions any less shocking.
She never said, “I can’t be racist, I have a Black child,” but it was the same energy.
Then, she re-read her statement again from the 2/9 meeting, with a lot more aggression with the racist remarks about the “China virus.” Her statement was directed directly to Lockridge and it was combative.
We finally got to hear directly from Dyanne Lockridge at the end of the 3/2 meeting.
She was empathetic, compassionate, and spoke of unity and inclusion.
What’s clear, more than anything, is that Dyanne Lockridge belongs as chairwoman of the Diversity and Inclusion council.
What else is clear is that Gina Maria has absolutely no place on a Diversity and Inclusion Council.
Aside from the constant lies she has spewed at each one of these meetings and the racist remarks she made at two separate meetings; it is rumored around town that all of the racist people who showed up at these meetings were in the Trump Train with her, and personal friends she called in to make these disruptions.
Living Blue in Texas is calling on Gina Maria to immediately step down and resign from her position on the Diversity and Inclusion Council. Anna residents should demand the same.
The Diversity and Inclusion Council’s mission is to make Anna a safer and more inclusive community for ALL people. However, it’s disruptive to their mission that one of their very own council members has expressed racist views towards Asian-Americans, has called in her racist friends to attack the 70-year old Black chairwoman, and attempt to get the council disbanded based on their racist ideology.
We are also calling for the resignation of Kevin Toten. Anna residents should do the same.
Aside, from Kevin Toten liking a post which called all Democrats stupid; Kevin Toten also has used racist language in a Facebook group.
The racist language used by these two people has contributed to a sharp rise in hate crimes against Asian-Americans. Asian-Americans also live and work in Anna. This rhetoric puts their safety in danger.
If Toten does not resign, he is up for reelection in May.
If he is reelected, that will demonstrate exactly how racist Anna is.
Calls to action.
- Show up to every Diversity and Inclusion Council meeting. Even if you have nothing to add, show up to support not only Dyanne Lockridge but to stand with all minority communities in Anna, to let them know they belong in Anna, too. The Diversity Inclusion Council meetings happen on the 1st Tuesday of every month at 6:30 pm, the next one is scheduled for 4/6.
- Demand the immediate resignation of Gina Maria.
- Show up to every city council meeting to be a voice for the council, the Black community, and the Asian Americans who live and work in Anna. If you can speak at these meetings, you should let your neighbors know that their hate and racism are not ok. City Council meets every other Tuesday at 6:30 pm. The next city council meeting is on 3/23.
- Demand the immediate resignation of Councilman Toten. A person who thinks all Democrats are stupid and uses racist rhetoric has no place on a non-partisan city council.
- Show up to every city council meeting and remind Councilman Toten that you want him to resign.
- Every Anna citizen should be questioning the mayor and city council on the reason WHY a person like Gina Maria would have been placed on the Diversity and Inclusion Council in the first place. Here are their emails:
Trump may be gone, but his legacy of hate and racism is still thriving all over America, even in picturesque little towns, like Anna.
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