Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Metro Nashville City Council Member-At-Large Steve Glover to the newsmaker line to discuss with the recent memo created by Dr. Stephanie Kang and circulated amongst the employees of the Metro Health Department against the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict.
Leahy: We are joined now by our good friend, Metro Council member at large, Steve Glover. Good morning, Steve.
Glover: Ever since I lost 50 pounds, it’s hard to say “at large” now.
Leahy: (Laughter) Very good. Very good.
Carmichael: Congratulations to you, little man. (Laughs)
Glover: Yeah, little man. Little man.
Leahy: So, Steve, we confirmed with the Metro Health Department that Dr. Stephanie Kang who joined the Department in July as Director of Health Equity, wrote this email to employees at Metro Health Department. I’ll read it to you and then get your reaction.
On November 19, 2021, Kyle Rittenhouse a young white man who shot and killed two people and wounded one other during last year’s demonstrations following the shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha Police Department officer received a not guilty verdict.
We recognize that these injustices can cause distress and harm for BIPOC communities and exacerbate trauma instilled daily through acts of racism and the pervasiveness of white supremacy and depression.
We must move forward collectively to disrupt systemic racism and reaffirm our shared values of equity and inclusion publicly and through practice.
Metro Health Department is committed to providing a space for healing and anyone struggling to process, experiencing distress, and or needs additional resources to support their colleagues.’
This was written by Dr. Stephanie Kang, Metro Public Health Department Bureau, Director of Health Equity. Your thoughts Metro Council Member Steve Glover?
Glover: Well, I think that our own health department is promoting racism, quite frankly. In this country, we have a judicial system, whether you like it or you don’t.
We have a judicial system. And it says if twelve members, your peer members of your community find you not guilty, guess what? You’re not guilty.
Here’s what disturbs me the most about this. I believe in the second paragraph it starts out we. Is she talking about her? Is she talking about the Health Department? Is she talking about the entire Metropolitan government? Who exactly is she talking about there?
Leahy: Is this a fireable offense for Doctor Stephanie King, who has a Ph.D. from Harvard?
Glover: She better be glad she didn’t work for me is all I’m going to say on that.
Leahy: Well, she does work for the Metro government.
Glover: Yeah, I have no idea. I mean, I think that requires the Mayor. Good luck on that one.
Leahy: Are you going to talk to the Mayor and ask him to fire her?
Glover: I’ll reach out to them, yes. But, Mike, you know as well as I do that if I ask for something, they’ll just ignore it because this is what they do. See, they call us supremacists. They call us all these various names. We’re not the ones who invented all these names. They are! And frankly, I’m disgusted by it.
Leahy: Does this email memo sent to every Metro Health Department employee violate any law?
Glover: I’m going to have to check my attorney this morning because unfortunately, when this happened and when I got a hold of it, everything was shutting down for the holiday. So I plan on talking to my attorney this morning about it.
Carmichael: If it’s not a violation of some law, then that would be very interesting. To use a position of authority to be inclusive. She didn’t say I, as you point out, it’s we. We recognize.
Glover: Right. We. We. And that’s what I want to know. Who is we in the context of this memo?
Carmichael: Well, correct. And what she is essentially saying is that and by the way, she has a right to her opinion. But to use her position to amplify a personal opinion, it seems to me that it would be against some law. And if it’s not, then perhaps the state legislature should pass such a law.
Glover: Let’s turn the table here really quick. What if I had put out an email and I used my Metropolitan government account and I said Congratulations to Kyle. They’d have a hay day with me, wouldn’t they have?
Leahy: It seems to me that what she’s doing is she is creating with this internal memo and official internal memo approved apparently by the Director of Health.
Glover: That’s what bothers me. That’s what bothers me the most right there.
Leahy: Yeah, it’s approved by the director, Doctor Gilbright, the third deputy director, Dr. Melville Black, and apparently authored by Dr. Stephanie Kang, the new since July Bureau Director of Health Equity.
To me, this is creating a hostile work environment for those Metro Health Department employees who support the Constitution and the rule of law.
Carmichael: Right. They wouldn’t be supporting the verdict. They would be supporting the process. And that is, in other words, the people who would be aggrieved by this, who would feel threatened by all of these officials in the Health Department is that if you believe that twelve jurors listening to the evidence and then rendering a verdict is the appropriate way to handle these types of circumstances.
If you believe in that, then our Department of Health, apparently all of the hierarchy in the Department of Health does not believe in our jury system. That would be interesting whether or not even the citizens of Nashville could sue.
Because they’re talking about how people feel and that they can go to various people within the department if they feel like they’ve been aggrieved by this verdict. Maybe the citizens of Davidson County who are aggrieved by this letter could sue her or could sue Metro. I think that’d be an interesting class action lawsuit.
Glover: I’m literally 30 minutes away from reaching my attorney, and then I will have better answers.
Carmichael: I’d be very interested if your attorney thinks that if any citizens of Nashville feel that they have been threatened or that they are emotionally distraught because officials of Nashville are using their official position to denounce a jury’s decision.
Glover: Let me say this. I, as a citizen of Nashville, feel disgusted.
Carmichael: I’m trying to get a class action about this.
Glover: No, I get it. I don’t understand that. I’m not an attorney, but this is truly sickening. And again, I want to emphasize it’s, not us who promotes racism. This is the kind of junk that promotes racism.
Leahy: So let me ask you a question. If these Metro Health Department employees who believe in the rule of law feel threatened by this email, and if they were to file a complaint with the Metro Legal Department, what kind of response would they get?
Glover: Again, you’re asking somebody who’s not an attorney. I don’t know the answer. Hopefully, we’ll know better answers within 30 minutes to an hour or so.
Leahy: Is this your personal attorney or is this somebody affiliated with your position as Metro Councilmember?
Glover: No. It’s actually affiliated with my position.
Leahy: Very good. As soon as you find out, will you let us know because we’re interested? On the face of it to me, it seems, at the very least this is inappropriate. Most likely, it has created a legal problem for Metro Health Department and that there is probably recourse for the employees who feel threatened by this.
Glover: What it says is simply this. We’re right, you’re wrong. And we are here to help you. And that’s disgusting, because the last time I checked, this is America still, and we are allowed to have opinions, and we are allowed to offer opinions.
But as a government employee, you don’t offer your opinion and that of the department through a government email that we the taxpayers pay for because guess what? I pay for that stuff. And I don’t like it.
Leahy: Metro Council Member-at-large, Steve Glover, thanks so much for joining us today. And as soon as you get a response, we’d be delighted to hear what it is.
Glover: Alright. Thank you.
Carmichael: That’s very interesting. But I wouldn’t confine it to just the employees of the department. I think it could be anybody or any citizen who is offended by this and has been emotionally distraught.
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