NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Nashville chapter of the Black Lives Matter is disappointed after they got word from Nashville Public Library this week that they will no longer be allowed to hold meetings at the North Branch location unless everyone is invited.
“It’s kind of disappointing,” Rhiana Anthony, a member of the Black Lives Matter Nashville leadership team said.
“We’re not necessarily upset about the policy in that we know they are following the law as best as they can,” Anthony said. “But it is frustrating to know that others in the community don’t see the goals and reasoning behind what BLM is trying to accomplish in the city.”
BLM Nashville has been meeting at the library since October.
The next meeting is scheduled for Saturday at Dixon Memorial United Methodist Church in North Nashville.
“They are more than welcome at the library, but in order to use library meeting place for free, a meeting will have to be open for everyone in the general public and the news media,” Nashville Public Library spokesperson
Andrea Fanta said.
The message of the change was posted on the group’s Facebook page and reads, “Due to white supremacy in our local government, this week’s BLM General Body Meeting location has changed.”
Fanta said this has been a long-standing policy that’s being enforced after a library patron brought it to their attention.
“Since we are a department to Metro Government and we are a taxpayer-funded agency, we have to be open, transparent, accessible and fair to everyone,” Fanta said.
Anthony said the General Body meetings were not opened to everyone because of safety reasons.
“We have turned folks away before particularly because we want to create a safe place for individuals that are black as well as non-black POC individuals to build and have healing, and create a safe and supportive environment,” Anthony said.
The group said they will now be holding meeting at various locations but mainly in predominately black communities.
Library officials said over the past 6-months 2,000 groups have used meeting rooms at all 21-locations across the city. They added that they support Civil Rights.