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Thousands call for Midlothian school board member's resignation after blackface photo surfaces

Tami Tobey was elected in 2017 and has said that she will not resign. She is seeking re-election in November.

MIDLOTHIAN, Texas — A Midlothian ISD board member is facing continuous calls to resign after a photo of her wearing blackface at a 2010 Halloween party surfaced earlier this month. 

The picture shows Place 6 Board Member Tami Tobey holding a tennis racket, wearing an athletic visor, and dark makeup on her face and hands.

The picture was taken almost seven years before she was elected to the board in 2017. 

More than 3,000 people have signed a petition demanding Tobey be removed after the photo came to light. 

Per the 2010 Census, Midlothian's racial makeup was 88.5% White and 3.6% African American. Latinos made up 15.2% of the population. 

Tobey told WFAA Monday night at a district board meeting that she would not resign.

However, Tobey has apologized and said in a lengthy social media post that she's working with the city's black community to make amends. 

You can read Tobey's full apology on her Facebook page that's dedicated to her re-election here

Monday night's meeting was Tobey's first to attend in person since the backlash started. 

Meaning, parents and those calling for her to step down could look her in the eyes and express their concerns. 

Tobey told WFAA before the meeting that she was remorseful for the post, but hoped that some good would come out of it. 

Her decision to not resign, she said, came down to the responsibility she owed to both voters and God. 

"I don't believe that's what the Lord is telling me to do," Tobey said. "There were a lot of people that were as naive as I was with what the term 'blackface' meant--and what that held as far as the historical meaning for African Americans." 

"So, again, my heart goes out to anybody that I offended or hurt."

Parent Shequita Miller didn't respond well to Tobey's remarks. She has three children within the district and showed up to the meeting to join a small protest for Tobey to step down. 

"This isn't acceptable for anyone, especially for a board member," Miller said. 

"There is no way in the world that you can tell me that when she did this in 2012-- that she didn't know what she was doing when she applied that makeup to her face." 

"It's not 1612...it's 2012," Miller continued. 

Despite the cries for a resignation, there were some public comments that supported Tobey. 

One person who emailed comments to the board said that Tobey made a mistake before she was elected and has apologized. 

"What more do you want?" the commenter wrote. 

After public comment, the board voted on a resolution that condemned Tobey's actions and asked her to reconsider her decision to not step down. 

It passed 6-1. 

During the discussion of that resolution, Tobey addressed the crowd saying she would never judge someone on a single photo. 

She also tried explaining that the photo was an example of "painted face" not "blackface" which was met with an uproar. 

People across the country are being held accountable for racially insensitive social media posts and or actions. 

Dallas Fire-Rescue battalion chief Allan Springer is under investigation and on administrative leave for his "distasteful" Facebook posts.

And in Houston, a police officer is on restricted duty for writing what the department called a racist rant on Facebook.

Some are comparing it to the "Me Too" movement when women spoke out about sexual harassment.

Lingburge Williams is a former Dallas firefighter.

"We saw some incredible changes that happened almost overnight and they weren't just temporary fixes to the problem. It was systemic problems much like racism now,” said Williams.

RELATED: Firefighters call for Dallas Fire-Rescue battalion chief to resign or be fired after racist Facebook posts

RELATED: Dallas Fire-Rescue battalion chief under investigation for 'distasteful' social media post

In the Change.org petition to remove Tobey, organizer Joelia Foster wrote, "2012 was not 100 years ago. This photo shows an elected official not only taking part in a decades-old racist act but feeling ever so comfortable doing it.”

"I think that now we are looking at an opportunity to do something about racism in this country,” said Williams.

Williams continued saying he's discouraged about the posts but added that people from all races and walks of life are coming together to try to and make a change.

"Because it’s not just people of color. It's people of all color that are upset about this, they are all going to make a real difference in change,” said Williams.

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