Barron County has cut $25,000 in support for a domestic violence victims advocacy organization for supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and calling for an end to racism and police violence.
The Barron County Sheriff's Department and others in the region are also cutting ties, citing the group's support of "social issues that are negative towards law enforcement."
The community-based outlet Drydenwire.com posted a statement from a chief deputy of the Washburn County Sheriff's Department, saying that they too — along with the Shell Lake Police Department, Spooner Police Department, Minong Police Department and Birchwood Police Department — were ending their affiliation with Embrace based on the statement.
On Wednesday, Sept. 30 the advocacy organization Embrace issued a statement saying that in order to "end intimate partner violence and sexual violence, we must grapple with our country's long history of racism, slavery, genocide and colonization."
The statement continued by stating that racism and white supremacy are "prevalent in our communities" and that violence disproportionately affects communities of color, including Black women and indigenous women. It ended by affirming support of the Black Lives Matter movement and calling for allies to "break the cycle of trauma created by racism and violence."
The next week, members of the Barron County Board of Supervisors executive committee went into closed session to discuss the county's relationship with Embrace. After gaveling back into open session, the board voted to stop funding the organization by cutting $25,000 slated to go to the advocacy group next year. Supervisors also voted to have the county's director of Health and Human Services resign from Embrace's board of directors.