NewsCovering Louisiana


UPDATE: EBR board member refuses to step down

Posted at 5:49 PM, Jun 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-22 19:08:00-04

UPDATE: Four board members have asked the target of Chambers' speech, Board Member Connie Bernard, to resign. She has refused.

To read about The Advocate's story about today's press conference by four board members calling on Bernard to step down, click here.

Meanwhile, the video of a Baton Rouge activist's fiery speech at a school board meeting has gone viral.

Gary Chambers, who is publisher of the Rouge Collection, caught a school board member browsing clothing websites on her lap top while citizens were speaking to the board about changing the name of Lee High School in Baton Rouge.

The school originally was named Robert E. Lee High School, and maintained the "Rebel" mascot and Confederate Flag for many years, until the name was changed to "Lee High" and the mascot to the "Patriots" in 2016.

Chambers gave a speech that has since been shared and viewed millions of times, and he has been interviewed by several national media outlets, including CNN.

He was calling out board member Connie Bernard, who also had given an interview a few days prior to the meeting saying that people who attended the school should educate themselves about Lee. She has since apologized, saying she didn't mean for her comments to hurt anyone, according to The Advocate.

Chambers said that Bernard was shopping, and other white board members had left the room while citizens were speaking, "because you don't give a damn. And it's clear."

He recited some history about Lee and his cruelty to his slaves.

"And you sit your arrogant self in here, and sit on there shopping, while the pain and the hurt of the people of this community is on display, because you don't give a damn and you should resign," Chambers said.

Bernard got up and left the room, prompting Chambers to add "you should walk out of here and resign and never come back, cause you are the example of racism in this community."

After Chambers' statement, the board voted unanimously to remove Lee's name completely from the high school.

Here's the video of Chambers' statement: