Democratic presidential candidate, Peter “Pete” Buttigieg, recently responded to a protestor who interrupted a gathering in South Bend, Indiana, consisting primarily of Black supporters in support of Buttigieg.
It all started on Wednesday, December 4, when a protestor sporting a “Black Lives Matter,” shirt, stole the attention from South Bend Common Council Member, Sharon McBride. McBride, a Black woman, was in the middle of expressing her support for Buttigieg, who is currently struggling to win over Black voters, and is far less popular in the AA community than that of fellow presidential candidate and Democratic rival, Joe Biden.
During McBride’s speech, a man interrupted her, demanding to know “Where are the Black leaders?”
“Who chose these people as black leaders? Who organized them?” the man shouted, before grabbing the mic from McBride.
“We have a police crisis in this town,” the unknown man said. “Why are we talking about Pete Buttigieg?”
The event crasher’s action was soon followed by commotion, including several patrons trying to remove him from the scene, as well as an older woman with a cane having to be restrained from hitting the outsider. Upon being escorted from the scene, the protestor shouted, “This is a farce,” to which several other people joined in on the chant.
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A man in a “Black Lives Matter South Bend” shirt stole the microphone at event for African American supporters of Mayor Pete Buttigieg Wednesday. The man took the mic from Sharon McBride, a city council member, who is black. The man who interrupted her is not. The protest has added new fuel to an already heated conversation about the Democratic presidential candidate’s tenuous relationship with African Americans, from low polling numbers among black voters to a contested record at home in Indiana. This time, however, the incident involved an unusual role reversal: Where black residents of South Bend had once confronted their white mayor, here was a black woman standing up for him and getting heckled herself — in an exchange that she labeled “a form of bigotry."
The following day, Buttigieg addressed the situation. In a statement to NBC news, the South Bend mayor stated deemed the incident “unfortunate.”
“It shows kind of where politics has come to, especially for somebody to interrupt an African American woman who was speaking about her truth and in her experience,” Buttigieg started.
He continued, “But this is the climate that we’re in and we need to continue making sure that everyone is empowered to speak their truth, their experience, and in particular, when it comes to South Bend’s story,” he added.
Buttigieg was not present at the scene of the incident.