Anti-masker in Kansas tells county board she is treated like a ‘second-class citizen’ and a 'diseased leper' for not covering her face but her plea fails to overturn mask mandate

An anti-masker in Kansas spoke out about the discrimination she faces for her decision not to wear a mask during a recent vote on whether the state’s face covering mandate should be extended in her county.

Nicole Atwood was among dozens of Johnson County residents who addressed the board of commissioners during a public meeting on September 17 ahead of their vote on the mandate.

She claimed she is ‘discriminated against every single day in my county now, sometimes multiple times a day’, as she urged to board to get rid of masks and stop her from being treated like a ‘second-class citizen’.

Atwood added that she ‘loves my fellow Americans’ but that masks were dividing the community and causing people to treat her ‘like I’m some sort of diseased leper’ because she chooses not to wear one.  

Anti-masker Nicole Atwood was among dozens of Johnson County residents who addressed the board of commissioners during a public meeting on September 17 about a mask mandate

Anti-masker Nicole Atwood was among dozens of Johnson County residents who addressed the board of commissioners during a public meeting on September 17 about a mask mandate

Anti-maskers testifies on how she is 'discriminated against'
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‘I just wanted to share my experience with you, what it’s been like being and “unmasked” individual in Johnson County this summer,’ Atwood said, as she began her plea to the board.

‘I could say a lot about my time in Johnson County this summer not wearing a mask, which is my choice as a free individual but I’ll boil it down to one point, which is discrimination.

‘It has nothing to do with the virus and has everything to do with how we treat one another. I am discriminated against every single day in my county now, sometimes multiple times a day.


'I’m told “stand back, stand back”; “you don’t care about other people”; “you can’t come in here”; “ma’am, ma’am, excuse me, ma’am, you have to wear a mask". The best one, “leave”,’ she continued.

‘I’m treated, we are treated, worse than second-class citizens. We are treated like we’re not even human, never mind someone’s fellow American.’

Atwood continued with a story which she said was an example of the ways she is now being discriminated against on a day-to-day basis because of masks.

‘Yesterday, I went to mail a package at my local FedEx, walk in, set the package down on the counter, politely ask for a scan and a receipt,’ Atwood said.

‘”Stand back, get back, no right there, move, move back, stand on the purple dot on the ground, the purple dot”. OK, so I did. He ran the package and the receipt, didn’t put the receipt on the same counter that I put the package on but put it over to the side. I had to walk around the counter as to avoid him and he retreated from his register as I approached like I’m some sort of diseased leper. 

'This is our community now. This is the division that has been created by you guys allowing these mandates to continue,’ she accused the board.

Atwood was speaking on September 17 during a public meeting of the Johnson County Board of Commissioners over a decision to extend the mandate on wearing masks indoors

Atwood was speaking on September 17 during a public meeting of the Johnson County Board of Commissioners over a decision to extend the mandate on wearing masks indoors

Atwood spoke for two minutes about the 'discrimination' she faces for not wearing a mask

Atwood spoke for two minutes about the 'discrimination' she faces for not wearing a mask

Atwood acted out how she says she has been treated for not wearing a mask

Atwood acted out how she says she has been treated for not wearing a mask

‘I love my fellow Americans and I love my fellow Johnson Countians and you guys are dividing us every day more and more. Please stop. This has to stop now.

‘If we are to regain our sense of community, it has to happen now before it’s too late so please, please, no more masks,’ Atwood concluded.

Despite her pleas, the Johnson County Board of Commissioners voted to extend Governor Laura Kelly’s executive order requiring masks or other face coverings in indoor spaces.

The county first voted to pass the mandate on July 2 after a long debate. Last month’s debate was even longer, lasting over three hours, with around 60 residents speaking for and against the mandate before a decision was made.

 

Many residents not wearing masks also crowded outside the room to express their opposition to the mandate.

The mandate reaffirmed through to October 15 by a vote of 4-3.

The debate at times became heated as pro- and anti-maskers each addressed the board for several minutes and some even became teary in their speeches. Many told personal stories, while others quoted Christian scripture, Shawnee Mission Post reported. 

'You had doctors, and you have the information from other genealogists, and you have the information from the state of Kansas, which, thank God for Laura Kelly, she's using science,' Cassie Woolworth said during the public comments.

'Please, dear God, Johnson County. Johnson County, Kansas, in the United States of America, could we please tell the world we believe in science?

'Now, I know your constituents out there that are whining. My kids don't want to wear shoes in stores. My kids have seat belts. I mean, we do it for their own good.'

Johnson County, highlighted top right in darker blue, accounts for 12,071 cases

Johnson County, highlighted top right in darker blue, accounts for 12,071 cases

Coronavirus cases in Kansas have remained high throughout September and October

Coronavirus cases in Kansas have remained high throughout September and October

'If there is no case to be made, or the evidence is so meager, that mandates really have no bearing whatsoever, and it's really kind of a form of oppression, you're managing something that has nothing to back it up just because some people are upset,' argued another resident Paul Bertrand.

'I guess I’m not anti-masks or pro-masks. I'm arguing anti-mandate because that it's against our freedom.'

Others vowed that they would not comply with the mandate even if it was passed.

'Your mandate only has power if people listen to it,' said Britney Valas. 'I have never worn a mask, not once. Your mandate has not affected me personally at all. It will not affect me personally for the rest of my life.

'I don’t care about your mandate. I’m throwing my mask away.'

The vote to keep the masks was taken after six public school districts in the county sent a letter to the board of commissioners asking for the mask mandate to continue, according to KMBC.

 

'We collectively represent almost 100,000 public school students in the county, and we strongly believe that a public face mask requirement is critical to helping decrease the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community, in order to help students, staff and families remain safe,' the letter said.

'Our communities are desperate to have schools open, and students safely back in class. Unfortunately, the county has struggled to control the spread of COVID-19 virus in the community, and the spread has made it difficult to make progress toward getting all students back in school.'

Gov. Kelly extended the state’s mandate last month but counties have the power to enforce less stringent restrictions.

On Monday, Kansas health officials report a new pandemic record for average daily hospitalizations.

The state had an average of 26.29 new coronavirus hospitalizations per day for the seven days ending Monday. The previous high was 23.86 for the seven days ending Friday.

The rate of tests coming back positive in Kansas now sits at 7.2 percent.

Kansas has had 62,708 coronavirus cases and 706 deaths.

Johnson County accounts for 12,071 of those cases and is the state’s major hotspot.

Anti-masker in Kansas tells county board she is treated like a ‘second-class citizen’ and a 'diseased leper' for not covering her face but her plea fails to overturn mask mandate Anti-masker in Kansas tells county board she is treated like a ‘second-class citizen’ and a 'diseased leper' for not covering her face but her plea fails to overturn mask mandate Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 05:03 Rating: 5

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