SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Organizers of a rally in support of Shanerika Flemings after her abrupt termination from the city of Shreveport are calling for direct action from city leaders and are calling for the recall of two council members.
“But I think it takes a lot of courage for Miss Flemings to stand up, but it takes more courage for us to stand behind her, and as Black people, we got to stand up for one another,” said activist, Terrance Winn.
Lee confirmed that in conversations with Flemings, she did inform him that she has secured legal counsel and plans to pursue legal action in the matter. Lee also explained that although Flemings has received an outpouring of support the events in the council chamber on September 12 have left her traumatized.
Participants chanted, ‘Immediately. They gotta go, they gotta go, they gotta go.’
Men and women stood in solidarity and some black women left empowered.
“I am Miss Flemings, right? I’m a young professional in the city, so the exact same thing that happened to Miss Flemings can happen to me tomorrow. I felt extremely empowered and just uplifted with her courage for her to speak up and speak out,” said Dorian Ford.
“As a woman, an African American woman, a woman of God, a woman of principle, a woman of moral standards, a woman who walks in integrity, I stand with attorney Shanerika Flemings,” said Daphne Thibeaux.
Organizers provided an outline and purpose statement for the Labor Justice Rally which listed:
- The immediate resignations of councilmembers Brooks and Bowman
- Immediate resignation of Ralph Johnson from his post as Public Relations Director for the Shreveport City Council
- A local, state, and federal investigation of Gary Brooks regarding the comments made about legislation that would directly impact a downtown business
- creation of a department of diversity, equity and inclusion to oversee city hiring, board appointments, and public sector contracts
- asking for individuals to come forward who have experienced sexual harassment and intimidation
Flemings read an 8-minute profanity-laced statement that exposed inappropriate behavior by councilmembers Brooks, and Bowman; including Bowman excusing Brook’s use of the “n” word.
In a release announcing the rally, Shreveport activist and former city council candidate Craig Lee said, “We understand that Louisiana is an At-Will employment state, however, workers do have rights and the law does have recourse for individuals who were fired for illegal reasons.”
Speakers said this termination shines a light on the treatment of black women in the workforce.
“As an African American woman, you know you endure a lot of things because with that job you have to feed your family. You have to pay your bills,” said Tangia Taylor.
Taylor says this rally shows how far the city needs to progress in support of Black and Brown communities.
Participants of the rally called for justice, primarily with the resignation of council members, Gary Brooks, Ursula Bowman, and public relations director Ralph Johnson.
“We have to stand boldly and although I really hate what happened to Shanerika, I’m really enlightened and I’m happy that we were exposed. We have, our hand needed to be exposed,” said Ford.