The chamber of commerce in the town of Gilmer, Texas, has mandated diversity training after a former member posted a message on her Facebook page against a Muslim woman who had visited the town.
Lisa Gaines posted a photograph of a Muslim woman at the town’s “Yulefest” celebration and added the comment, “Look what showed up in Gilmer. At the Yulefest. We have been infiltrated.”
Gaines, who owns a business in Gilmer, was kicked out of the Gilmer Chamber of Commerce and they released a statement about the post after the Muslim woman was identified.
“The Gilmer Area Chamber of Commerce sincerely apologizes to Ruwan Alkam and her family for the behavior of a chamber member,” the statement read.
“The Gilmer chamber does not support the exclusion of any race or religion nor do we condone or control the beliefs or actions of the members of the chamber. In no way does this reflect the views or the beliefs of the chamber,” they continued.
“After discussion, the board of directors have decided to terminate the business owner’s membership in accordance with Article II of the chamber bylaws,” the statement said.
They also said they would sponsor diversity training for their members and other members of the community.
Alkam also posted on her Facebook about the controversy.
“While we were at the fest, someone decided to snap this photo of me (without my consent) with this lovely caption suggesting that I’m a terrorist who has infiltrated their town,” she wrote.
“I’m devastated,” she explained. “I’m just a mom trying to do my best like everyone else is. I never thought my presence alone would be this offensive to someone.”
Gaines also took down her personal page and her business page from Facebook over the controversy.
Here’s a local news video about the story:
City of Gilmer mandates diversity training in wake of racist social media post