Socorro County sends out ‘Black Ice Matters’ text alert to employees

New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Inappropriate, unprofessional, and insensitive; that’s what some county employees described a text alert they received this week they thought was mocking the Black Lives Matter movement.

It has been a hectic few days with snowy conditions, slick roads, and black ice. “No one was braking early,” one driver said Tuesday. “No one was taking their time.”

The Socorro County manager said employees were discussing the road conditions via email this week when one of their subject lines accidentally got attached to a text notification sent out to other county employees. “I just think we should all think before we make statements,” Albuquerque NAACP President Dr. Harold Bailey said.

The email was titled “BLACK ICE MATTERS.” The county said at least one person complained. Some called the email an offensive joke. “We feel to associate black ice matters with the Black Lives Matter movement is very insensitive to the movement,” Bailey said.

County manager Michael Hawkes declined an interview but said on the phone that he believes the employee who sent it was not trying to be derogatory. “To me, they would be fair-minded thinking individuals, and I know they thought about it,” Bailey said.

Hawkes said while the employee should have been more cognizant, he believes at this point that the employee was just trying to say that black ice does matter, and he does not think there was any parody on the Black Lives Matter movement. “At this moment in time, institutional racism, systemic racism, and negative attitudes directed at specific people, that’s not good for anybody,” Bailey said. “That is what creates division among people in society.”

NAACP said the county employees should undergo sensitivity training. The county manager said he has spoken to the employee and is conducting a review of the situation.

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