Chauvin ‘safe space’ email turns into Reply-Allpocalypse
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A mass email sent by a California environmental agency to announce a “safe space” discussion after Derek Chauvin’s murder conviction sparked a reply-all marathon as employees voiced support for police, accused management of “caving to the mob” and asked to be removed from a “racially based” email list.
The “Reply-Allpocalypse” erupted after an employee at the State Water Resources Control Board messaged all 2,376 staff members at the agency and its nine regional water control boards with the subject line: “Employee Support Lunch Through Teams Friday 4/23/2021.”
The email was sent without blind-copying the recipients, allowing anyone to reply to the entire group. Similar mistakes have caused chaos in offices, universities and government agencies across the country for years.
Written by someone with the board’s recently formed Racial Equity Steering Committee and Working Group, the invitation called for a voluntary lunch meeting for anyone who wanted to discuss Chauvin’s conviction for murdering George Floyd, as well as more recent deaths of Black Americans at the hands of the police.
“We first and foremost want to acknowledge how rough the last few weeks have been on everyone’s mental health with the senseless killings that have taken place all over the country,” the email begins. “Secondly, we would like to let you know that you are not alone.
“We would like to give you the opportunity to discuss some of these feelings,” it continues. “This event is intended for employees who are feeling emotionally affected by the current events of the country; it is not a question and answer session.”
The water board, in response to a Public Records Act request, supplied The Sacramento Bee with the emails in the thread but with employee names redacted.
About 2 1/2 hours after the original email, an engineering geologist at the Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality Control Board, one of the nine agencies reporting to the state board, fired back the first reply-all. It contained several misspellings, including an email signature that misspells “river” as “rover.”
“Killing occurs everyday in the United States and it is not all reported on,” the geologist wrote. “If the eater (sic) board actually wanted to make a difference they would or would not do this for everyone. The fact the water boards is doing this now, is just a sign of caving into the mob. Rome also was a great nation once before it feel (sic) to the mob.”
The geologist said that “intra racial killing of African Americans is much more higher and significant than white cops killing African Americans unnecessarily.” The employee then asked to be removed from the “racially based” mailing list.
“I do not appreciate being forced to think of my fellow Americans as unable to solve their own problems and I detest the implication it means I have the power to change their lives.”