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Tuolumne County Supervisors meeting canceled after mask-wearing protest

The Board of Supervisors agreed to cancel all but one closed session item on the agenda so that they could discuss how to address protests on mask wearing.

TUOLUMNE COUNTY, Calif — The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors meeting was canceled yesterday, Feb. 1 after a woman by the name of Kali Callahan started protesting against the mask mandate in schools. 

When Callahan was finished speaking at the podium during the meeting, she sat down and took off her mask. The act stirred up a conversation amongst the Board of Supervisors about reinforcing the mandate and sticking to COVID protocols. 

“I honestly felt very calm and resolved in my choice," Callahan told ABC10. "I was there to draw attention to the masking of our children and I felt the need to help draw attention to it by unmasking myself, but it wasn't really about me. I didn't really feel threatened or worried or anything by all the conversation that was going on around me." 

A few board members then chimed in to reinforce the mask mandate. For example, Supervisor David Goldemberg asked Supervisor Anaiah Kirk if he is going to do anything about people in their audience that are not putting their mask on. 

However, that led to a separate scenario. Kirk continuously repeated that he is not the COVID police and will not enforce someone to wear a mask. 

"I think it's very clear that we've asked everyone to follow the rules, but I'm not going to police grown adults," Kirk said. "I don't do it at grocery stores, I don't do it at schools, I don't do it when I'm walking down the street, (and) I'm not doing it in a board meeting." 

Supervisor Jaron Brandon was more in favor of doing what he said was the right thing. 

"I just think it's a common courtesy to do something that small to make people feel more comfortable and follow the rules when you're in a space like that. It made me feel sad that one person making a political statement on an issue outside of our authority ended a space and pushed it to the point of saying the sheriff had to remove me, instead of doing something that they might not agree with but is mildly inconvenient to protect some others," he said.

Overall, the Board of Supervisors agreed to cancel all but one closed session item on the agenda, so they could discuss how to address protesting against wearing masks at the next meeting.

"I was just processing what was going on, I was caught off guard but to be honest, it's so shocking, just the hypocrisy with this board and this COVID situation," Kirk told ABC10. "But, I'm the new board chair, I'm in a minority, this is my third meeting and they took an opportunity to play politics. I think that's what really caught me off guard because we're supposed to be here doing county business. We may all not agree, but there are things that need to be done."

Goldemberg expressed how disappointed he was overall, saying, "When I look at the situation today, I was not pleased, honestly. Today, I just felt that basically enough was enough. I felt that I needed to speak up, that we, on the board, are doing all the things that I felt that we should be doing."

WATCH MORE ON ABC10: How to find out if your COVID-19 mask is legit

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