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Community leaders call for calm, reason, public safety in wake of mask protests

Objections to covid precautions marked by sexism, death threats

Proponents of a Covid-19 mask mandate who were the targets of heckling, harassment and intimidation called on residents to use reason and civility going forward. In the week leading up to the Friday press conference, protests organized by the Republican party disrupted two county meetings where an indoor mask mandate was to be discussed. The first meeting was followed by a credible death threat directed towards Dr. Pamela Hackert, medical health officer and Kayleigh Blaney, deputy director for the Genesee County Health department.

After speaking at the Genesee County Board of Commissioners meeting where she warned of the moral hazard of putting your community at risk, Rev. Monica Villarreal said she received an email from an opponent with a sexist message. “I was told God doesn’t recognize women,” said Villarreal. “Hopefully the board of commissioners does since we make up half of all parents and most of the teachers. These are the people we need to protect from Covid and masks will help do that.”

Attorney Ashley Prew rejects the premise of these disruptive demonstrations and finds it ironic that they would profess liberty and freedom while threatening the health of the common good. “It is important that we leave legal analysis to legal professionals just as it is important to leave medical and public health decisions to medical and public health professionals,” said Prew. “Dr. Hackert happens to be a professional in all 3 of these areas.”

Prew points to the decision by the 7th Circuit court that sided with the University of Indiana requiring a vaccination or a mask and regular Covid testing. The US Supreme Court declined to take the case on appeal.

The Board of Commissioners has scheduled a public meeting with Dr. Hackert Monday morning.

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