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Speakers demand county do more to address Andreotta's social media post

Henderson County NAACP President Melinda Lowrance addressed Henderson County Commissioners Wednesday. Henderson County NAACP President Melinda Lowrance addressed Henderson County Commissioners Wednesday.

Several people, including the president of the county’s NAACP, on Wednesday called on Henderson County commissioners to do more to address a social media post they say insulted black and poor people.

“The Henderson County NAACP Unit 5477 was appalled at the subject matter,” Henderson County NAACP President Melinda Lowrance told the county’s Board of Commissioners during its regular monthly meeting. “Even though it was only one individual involved, it put a negative light on the entire board.”
Lowrance and others who spoke said they were concerned about a Facebook post Commissioner Daniel Andreotta shared last week.
The post included two photographs. The first black and white photograph shows black people standing on the porch of an old home and the words “two ways to make a slave” at the top and the words “work him without pay” at the bottom. The bottom photo is in color and includes homes that appear in disrepair with the words “or pay him without work.”
The post sparked media coverage last week and calls for Andreotta’s resignation.
Lowrance and others who spoke Wednesday called on Andreotta and the board to address their concerns.
A few other people who spoke during the board’s public comment time said they thought Andreotta was the victim of cancel culture and agreed with the message he tried to convey.
“He was not speaking of racism and slavery. He was talking about rights being taken away, largely by the Democratic Party,” Brett Callaway told the board. Callaway’s wife, Dorothy, also told commissioners that the post was aimed at people becoming slaves to the government.
Lowrance said the NAACP’s local Executive Committee met with County Commission Chairman Bill Lapsley and County Manager John Mitchell on Sept. 16 to discuss the controversy.
The committee, Lowrance said, recommended the county take five specific steps to heal the community.
Those steps include diversity and sensitivity training for the board and county staff, board conversations with the community on a quarterly basis, an open dialogue between commissioners the NAACP on a quarterly basis and the possibility censuring Andreotta. Lowrance said one of the five steps also includes an apology from Andreotta “without reservation.” She called his apology in the media last week “full of fluff.”
Andreotta addressed the issue after the public comments.
He said the quote in the post came from a website.
“I, just for clarity and fact, I appreciate those who understood what I was and wasn’t communicating,” he said. “I apologize for anyone offended by the method.”
Last week, Andreotta said he did not intend to offend anyone with the post and only wanted to address the culture of dependency in America.
“I recently used a method to communicate that message that has offended some in our community. And for that, I do apologize,” he said last week.
Leslie Carey, who is the wife of N.C. Senate Candidate Jay Carey, told the board she believed the post perpetuates racism and made her question how decisions are made in the county. She also questioned Andreotta’s fitness for office.
“Perhaps, this job just isn’t for you,” she said.
Others called on commissioners to education themselves about racism, the county’s racial history and different cultures.
Robert Zachary, who is a chaplain, said the controversy could be an opportunity.
“I think you have given us a great opportunity,” he said. “I think this is an opportunity, as some have said, to dialogue.
Others said Andreotta was being treated unfairly.
“I commend speakers who are fair and honest,” Harvey Sankey, a Republican Party activist, told commissioners. “But this is the cancel culture that is once again out to destroy a good man.”