‘Black media only’ meeting for some Savannah mayoral candidates raises concerns

Local News

A controversial meeting is happening Wednesday with a goal of convincing black voters in Savannah to support just one African American candidate for mayor.

But questions surround the stipulation that only black members of the media can attend.

There are only two African Americans who have active campaigns for the mayor’s race in Savannah this year: Regina Thomas and Van Johnson.

Both received invitations to the meeting and only Johnson accepted. 

The flyer shared on social media bills the gathering as a “community vote” meeting, stating “we can’t win supporting two candidates.” The flyer also says the event is open to “black media only.”

The post was shared on Facebook by Trigon Group, a political consulting firm. Published reports say they’re responsible for organizing Wednesday’s meeting.

The address online says the group is located on Bull Street, but when News 3 visited the site, they said they had never heard of the organization.

News 3 also reached out to Rev. Dr. Clarence “Teddy” Williams, the owner of Trigon Group Consulting.

In an initial call, Rev. Dr. Williams confirmed his identity and said he had nothing to say, hanging up abruptly. On a second call, News 3 asked about excluding all journalist, except those who are black.

He said he only printed what his client wanted and then hung up again

Of the candidates invited, Johnson says he’ll attend, while Thomas says she has another commitment and won’t be there.

She added that she thinks “it’s premature.”

“Qualifying for the city election really isn’t over until August 19,” Thomas said. “There may be other candidates who may get into the race — we don’t know.”

She said it would be prudent to wait until all candidates have qualified to have a meeting.

“However, I’m concentrating on everybody’s vote, not just the people who look like me,” Thomas added.

Johnson said he will attend the meeting to give a statement, but added: “this is not my meeting.”

When asked about the language on the flyer, he said he hopes the aim of the meeting isn’t to offend other races.

Well, I’m hoping that’s not what the aim of it is. Certainly, my message has been clear and consistent, Johnson said. I would love for the media to follow me when I go to talk to the homeless people under the bridge. Nobody came to give that message.

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