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Harrison Mayor Jerry Jackson said in a statement released Friday that the subject matter of a video released on social media about Harrison does not accurately represent the town or even Boone County as a whole.

The video is about two minutes long and shows a male subject holding a Black Lives Matter sign, then being met with several harassing and possibly threatening comments from passersby.

Jackson said he and other people analyzed the video and its origins. He says the filmmakers spent three days recording in Harrison and were able to put together the two minutes of footage, even though they were in locations where an estimated 80,000 people would have passed in that time frame.

He feels the video was done solely for monetary gain.

“Many other southern towns and Harrison’s distant past includes some well-documented racist acts of violence,” the statement reads. “The town and our local race relations group have worked over many decades to overcome our history of racism and its lingering reputation.”

Jackson said the filmmaker did not reach out to the local Task Force on Race Relations or the local Black Lives Matter group for comment for insight into the true nature of the people in the area.

Jackson said the city has been inundated with phone calls and messages, including “vague threats,” from all over the country since the video was posted on social media, and other national media outlets have picked up on it.

“This is one of the most devastating things that I have been through as Mayor, and there have been many,” Jackson said in the statement. “I know that when we are attacked, our community can come together to fight this. We must pray that we can move beyond this and become a better community because of it. I urge you to combat hateful comments with something good. Your opinion is powerful. Please respectfully stand up for our town whenever you get the chance.

“These comments made by some of our very own citizens were reprehensible and horrible beyond belief. Like many communities across the country, we do have racist people among us, but we are not going to let a few define our city going forward. In the last few decades, we have taken community efforts to denounce racism on all fronts and we are committed to doing more,” Jackson concluded.

(3) comments

digbe1038

The video looks all true to me.creepy town

sojoelpaso

I wish to address the comments made by the Mayor and County Judge as someone who grew up in Harrison. I’ve lived in Texas all of my adult life but often visit Harrison and the people I hold dearest; my parents, siblings and their families. Watching this video and reading the comments on Youtube has me heartsick. I’m deeply sad for my hometown, for our country and for the many years I spent ignoring, staying silent, consenting to racism when I witnessed it and when I experienced it in myself. I regret not listening with heart, mind and soul when people of color have tried to tell me their stories of prejudice and racism perpetuated by those of us with white skin.

My plea to you as leaders and residents is this: please use this as an opportunity for soul-searching, please look to the roots of what so offends you about the making of this video, what disturbs you about the BLM movement. Please examine closely at the systems and attitudes that foster racism, not just in Harrison but throughout our country. Please take a good hard look at reality.

Shedding light on the hold of racism in rural America is a stated purpose of this video. Why not just start there? Why not accept that as a starting point for moving forward, keeping in mind that– as you know– Harrison is known far and wide for racists leanings and white supremacy idealogues.

I ask you, is it right to drive by those infamous billboards on the By-pass and say "oh that's just a few people in Zinc, That’s not me, that’s not us”?

The reality is that we are complicit in racism when we don't speak out against it. When we allow it to happen around us. When we brush it off as just a few people. We are ANTI-racist when we do the hard work of outing it and owning it. We are anti-racist when we look into our history and connect the dots to where we are today.

Alongside my sadness is deep admiration for those on the task force and in the community who work to denounce racism and white supremist activities in Harrison; those who march for racial equality, those who have the hard conversations, who show up and say enough is enough. Those people show the best Harrison has to offer.

I hope that like my parents and grandparents who worked hard most all their lives in North Arkansas, the community as a whole takes up a different kind of hard work. I believe it is possible. My heart and my prayers are with Harrison.

Sondra Jones

El Paso, Texas

jlo72601

BLM is a racist group too. If they have the right to march or post their signs then so does the White lives matter groups. ALL lives and rights matter. One group is marching and spreading hate. The other one is minding their own business and not out looking for trouble. To even attempt to invade their area where they live is just looking for a fight. You are instigating trouble and that is the only reason for going to the compound where they live.

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