VERNON (KFDX/KJTL) — In an effort to create racial harmony in Vernon, the North Vernon Ministerial Alliance held a community forum Thursday evening.
It consisted of a panel of city and county officials, with an open mic for residents to ask questions and voice concerns.
The event is meant to begin conversations brought on by the Vernon peaceful march that took place June 6.
Organizers and officials said the goal is to make Vernon better than ever.
Inside the Booker T. Washington Community Center, Vernon residents shared their questions and concerns regarding race relations in the city and Wilbarger county.
“I’ve applied at Vernon ISD every year since 2016 until this past year, 2019, I received the same answer from the current AD time after time ‘I’m sorry Tkeeyah, we don’t have any available positions,'” Vernon native Tkeeyah Hall Fanner said. “Then to find out people we’re being hired after me after I was told no positions were available.”
“Number 1: I’m unaware that you applied for a job and did not receive one, because I’m telling you every year that I’ve been here, we’ve started school minimally at five teachers short in our district,” Vernon ISD Superintendent Jeff Byrd said, “If there’s any way that you’re qualified, certified and wanna be in Vernon, there’s a place for you.”
A panel of officials consisting of the mayor, city manager, superintendent, police chief, county judge and district attorney answered.
“Are there confederate statues or confederate memorabilia on city property around Vernon,” Vernon resident Darien Williams asked.
“No, I don’t know of any that the city has on its property, but if there is some, I’d like to know about it,” Vernon City Manager Marty Mangum answered.
After a successful peaceful march, the North Vernon Ministerial Alliance decided to start a meaningful conversation.
“I think we all should know our city leaders, what they do and what they stand for and what they don’t stand for,” Vernon resident Vincent Whiteside said.
“I don’t have all of the answers, I mean I honestly don’t, but I need people to come to me and say ‘Pam I wanna get involved, we need this in Vernon, or we need this in Vernon’,” Vernon Mayor Pam Gosline said.
Now officials and residents are one step closer to a more open community.
Officials said this is just a start and that there’s plans to continue forums like this in the future.