#Black Lives Matter B-town Calls for the Resignation of Amanda Barge from the County Commissioner’s Office.
#Black Lives Matter B-town Calls for the Resignation of Amanda Barge from the County Commissioner’s Office
We call for her to admit her actions and engage in restorative justice as outlined by her accuser Brandon Drake. We are also calling for the city and county to revise their policies about protections for contracted employees.
Bloomington, IN: On March 25, 2019, the Indiana Daily Student (IDS) newspaper released an article outlining sexual harassment allegations by Brandon Drake against the former Mayoral Candidate and current County Commissioner, Amanda Barge. In this article, Brandon Drake and the IDS writer provided overwhelming evidence of Ms. Barge’s sexual harassment over the course of a year. Black Lives Matter B-town believes Mr. Drake because we as an organization always believe survivors, and we are especially invested in supporting and protecting survivors of color.
Due to our belief in supporting survivors; the preponderance of evidence; the power differential between them; the poor manner in which Ms. Barge reacted to, handled, and addressed these allegations; and the fact that it appears that Ms. Barge is using her position as County Commissioner to attack her victim and defend her egregious actions, we, the Core Council of Black Lives Matter B-town, are calling for her immediate resignation as County Commissioner. She has broken trust with the residents of the county and has misused her office. She must step down and allow others to fulfill her duties.
Additionally, we are calling for the Monroe County Government to revise its policies to include protections for contracted employees. All employees, including contracted employees, should be protected from any form of harassment. If Mr. Drake had legal recourse and procedural outlets outside of those of his harrasser’s direct co-workers and friends, it is far more likely that this situation could have been dealt with after the first incident. We ask the Monroe County Government to strive to protect all of its employees from harassment and assault by extending protections and coverage to its contracted employees.
The IDS article clearly outlines a strong power differential between Ms. Barge and Mr. Drake, but what is not made clear is the racial power differential that adds to the gravity of these allegations. #BLM B-town made a strong statement on March 26th connecting the historical connection of white womanhood and its power to racial oppression. Mr. Drake, due to his history of trauma, addiction and recovery, as well as his racial background, is a vulnerable person in our society. Ms. Barge, as a licensed, clinical social worker, a so-called advocate for people in recovery, and someone claiming to be an advocate for racial justice, had knowledge of all these things. She had racial power, supervisory power, educational, and professional power over Mr. Drake. She should have known better.
See #BLM B-town’s message about the historical issues of abuses of power here. https://www.facebook.com/blacklivesmatterbtown/posts/2586137214761509?__tn__=K-R
Additionally, once Mr. Drake disclosed the abuse, Ms. Barge’s response has been to deny his claims, attempt to discredit Mr. Drake, and blame her former political opponent, Mayor John Hamilton, claiming politically motivated timing. It is a matter of public record that Mr. Drake has protested the city and Mayor Hamilton’s administration for its response to the opioid epidemic and local opioid overdoses. He has been an active #BLM B-town member and supported and engaged in protest over the administration’s purchase of the Lenco BearCat military assault vehicle. This particular attack is a spurious overreach on the part of Ms. Barge’s supporters and team to discredit her accuser.
The County Commissioner’s office also recently attempted to discredit Mr. Drake by releasing a “job performance” timeline in a letter seeking to publicly shame Mr. Drake. #BLM B-town wishes to state that his job performance is 100% IRRELEVANT to the credibility of his disclosure of sexual harassment. Moreover, given the depths of the harassment, it is entirely unsurprising that an employee would underperform in such a hostile work environment. We ask for a comparative analysis of the County Commissioner’s letter detailing Mr. Drake’s job performance against the emails, texts, and other forms of communication Ms. Barge used to repeatedly harass her subordinate, not to mention an inquiry into why the County Commissioner’s office chose to release this information and on whose orders. Frankly, it appears as if Ms. Barge is using her office, yet again, to harass and discredit Mr. Drake.
#Black Lives Matter B-town would like to reiterate that Restorative Justice involves an admission of wrongdoing, a clearing of the air, and an effort to make amends. Ms. Barge clearly has not, and is not, engaging in Restorative Justice, and instead appears to be victim blaming as well as encouraging others to do the same. We are asking all progressive political and community-based organizations to call for her resignation from the County Commissioner’s office and for the city and county to revise their policies for contractual employees. If you are friends and/or colleagues with Amanda Barge, please help bring her to the table for productive conversations about community accountability.
If you have experienced sexual harassment or sexual violence, there is always a nonjudgmental and compassionate, listening ear on Middle Way House’s 24-hour, 7-days a week Crisis Line: (812) 336-0846.
If you would like to learn more about #BLM B-town, please check out our website for more information on upcoming projects and how you can get involved:
or email firstname.lastname@example.org for direct contact with BLM B-town.