The president of a city council in a northeast Ohio city formally apologized on Wednesday to two Black women councilors for another member telling them to “shut up and sit down” during a meeting last week. Akron City Council President Marilyn Keith said Councilman Bob Hoch could be censured for the way he ended a discussion with Councilwomen Linda Omobien and Veronica Sims about changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day.
“To see professional black women degraded like that in a public political forum, it was just upsetting,” local religious leader Reverend Roderick Pounds told the Akron Beacon Journal.
Black councilman Russ Neal introduced a bill to censure Hoch and relieve him of serving on any committee until 2018. Neal’s censure wasn’t approved, as the council vote was divided 6-6. Hoch didn’t vote, and all minority council members voted for censuring him. Black women were especially supportive of censuring Hoch, and they also asked for a change in the council’s leadership.
“I may not be in a popular place for saying this: I not only support the motion by Councilman Neal, I move that we do something about leadership,” Councilwoman Tara Mosley-Samples said.