SELAH — Sixty protesters took to the sidewalk in front of Mayor Sherry Raymond’s hamburger stand Saturday, demanding that City Administrator Don Wayman resign or be fired for his remarks about Black Lives Matter.
The protesters lined the sidewalk in front of King’s Row holding signs calling for Wayman to resign and mocking Wayman’s descriptions of the protesters as neo-Marxists and unintelligent.
“I teach your children. I am not ‘devoid of intellect and reason,’” read one sign, while another said, “Neo-Marxist (is greater than) Neo-Nazi.” Others referenced allegations about Wayman’s misconduct while serving as a JROTC instructor in Texas.
“We’re saying boycott King’s Row and Magic’s (Pizza Shack) because (Raymond) stands behind him,” said Courtney Hernandez, one of the organizers of Black Lives Matter protests in Selah.
Raymond, contacted Saturday night, said the protesters were only hurting innocent people with their calls for boycotts.
“There’s 23 employees who work here, and 10 who support their families. If you boycott King’s Row, you are hurting those people,” Raymond said before hanging up the phone.
Wayman stood behind his comments, and said he would not back down.
“I will not quit or take a knee,” Wayman said Saturday. “I’m not quitting.”
He accused the group members of denying him his right to free speech by calling for a boycott of Raymond’s business because they didn’t like what he said..
The controversy began when, during a June 6 Black Lives Matter protest by the Selah Civic Center, Wayman told Yakima City Councilwoman Holly Cousens that the protesters’ chants were “communist indoctrination,” and said Selah didn’t have the problems Yakima did because many residents carried concealed firearms, Cousens recounted in a Facebook post.
While Wayman denied he patted the side of his jacket when he mentioned concealed weapons to Cousens, he stood by his comments about communism and labeled Black Lives Matter a “neo-Marxist organization.”
At the end of a Wednesday council meeting where council members discussed complaints against Wayman in a closed-door session, Wayman said the protesters were “devoid of intellect or reason” during a six-minute speech in which he used words from a conservative commentator’s column without attribution.
Kalah Lalley, a Selah Middle School teacher and one of the protesters, said she was out there for her children.
“As the mother of two Black children, I cannot trust Donald Wayman as my city administrator,” Lalley said.
The protest began at 6 p.m., and some people who came for a car cruise began yelling obscenities at the protesters. At one point, one of people there for cruise night went up to the protesters and made obscene gestures.
But the Rev. Don Davis walked along the line urging the protesters to ignore the hecklers and not take their bait.
“That’s ignorance, when they don’t fully understand that (Black Lives Matter) is about equality and justice,” Davis said. “This is what we saw in the 1960s.”
The rest of the evening was relatively peaceful, with a few people driving by in pickup trucks with pro-Donald Trump flags on the back and revving their engines. But many motorists appeared to honk their horns in support of the group.
Hernandez and other protesters, responding to Raymond’s argument that a boycott hurts employees’ families, said they will be willing to support King’s Row once Wayman is gone.