Southern Sector Rising, a nonprofit that deals wtih systemic racism in Dallas’ zoning practices, held virtual a meeting Thursday night updating residents on Shingle Mountain and was interrupted by pornography and racial slurs.
For the last couple of months, the group had been planning acts of civil disobedience in response to the city's not working fast enough to clean up Shingle Mountain, a massive pile of discarded roofing shingles the abuts a residential neighborhood in southeast Dallas.
The group was originally going to gather on Monday to begin taking the waste from the property to the McCommas Bluff Landfill on Youngblood Road, “where it belongs,” said Misti O’Quinn, an organizer with Downwinders at Risk, a local environmental activism group. This could result in jail time, she said.
However, they learned recently that the city came to a settlement agreement from the 2018 lawsuit filed against the company that built the mountain, Blue Star Recycling, and the company that owns the land it was built on, CCR Equity Holdings One. The city now has to go through a 30-day public notice period required by the settlement before it can take any action, O’Quinn said.
They canceled their planned civil disobedience to give the city time to act and began organizing last night’s meeting a week ago to update their supporters. In mid-October, Dallas approved a $450,000 contract with Q. Roberts Trucking to take the waste to the landfill.
Last night, when they began the meeting, a link and password for the call were included in a post on Southern Sector Rising’s Facebook page, where it was also being broadcasted.
Jim Shermbeck, director of Downwinders at Risk, was just discussing the pollution caused by the mountain of shingles in southern Dallas when the sound of two young, unfamiliar voices took over the meeting.
Then a video from the pornography site Pornhub was displayed on everyone’s screen. The two voices began describing the acts in the video and slinging racial epithets at the hosts of the meeting. This went on for nearly a minute.
In that time, Shermback, who was hosting the meeting through Zoom, was booting people from the call he didn’t recognize, but he couldn’t get it to stop. Eventually, he just ended the meeting and the group reassembled on another call to finish up.
These kinds of virtual hijackings are called “Zoom bombings,” and according to Fortune, have become increasingly common since the pandemic has forced so many to meet primarily online.
O’Quinn said she doesn’t know what to think about the Zoom bombing, other than that it was awful and that she’s sorry to anyone who witnessed it.
But the attack hasn’t slowed their efforts. On Monday, the organizers will gather at the dumping site to set up a billboard-sized calendar to countdown the days until the city can start moving Shingle Mountain. If the city doesn’t move quickly after that, O’Quinn said civil disobedience will be back on the table.