Grand Haven town hall on racism ‘viciously’ hacked

Ottawa County

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Haven, like many West Michigan communities, has started talking about racism and its impact on people but one group says they were hacked online while trying to have that discussion.

The Momentum Center in Grand Haven recently formed an anti-racism task force with 17 other organizations in the community. On Monday, they kicked off the conversation with a virtual town hall on Zoom, but it didn’t go as smoothly as planned.

“We were viciously and unrelentingly hacked,” said Barbara Lee VanHorssen, a member of the anti-racism task force. “It was racist. It was pornographic. It was incredibly horrendous and disturbing.”

The goal of the meeting was to talk about racial sensitivity, white consciousness and getting people comfortable with sharing what they’ve been through.

“The silver lining, if you will, is that in a very twisted way, they helped us prove our point. Racism is alive and well and that we need more than ever to be having these conversations,” said VanHorssen.

Moving forward, group members say they aren’t going to be intimidated and will continue to speak up against racism.

“They’re not going to win. They’re not going to silence us. We’re going to continue to expose the systemic problem,” VanHorssen.

She also says that she’s working with Zoom and the local police to try and figure out who exactly hacked them. They’ve also filed a federal complaint.

The task force still plans to hold town hall meetings the fourth Monday of every month.

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