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Newfields protestors

Source: WISH-TV / other

INDIANAPOLIS — It’s been over a week since Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette abruptly resigned as CEO of Newfields, prompting stiff resistance from community members who say there is a lot more behind her resignation than Newfields leaders are willing to admit.

A protest was staged outside Newfields on Sunday where the group demanded she be reinstated as CEO.

“She was making real change at Newfields, which is something we had never seen before,” Wildstyle Paschall said, who helped organize the protest. “And for her to be summarily dismissed like that, it was really upsetting, and I felt that was a fight against progress in the city.”

Burnette was the first woman of color named CEO of Newfields. She resigned earlier this month and the Newfields board of trustees appointed Michael Kubacki as interim CEO for the time being. Kubacki is a former Newfields trustee and is also outgoing chair of Lake City Bank.

The protestors believe there is foul play afoot since they say Kubacki and the Newfields board president were previously involved on the Lake City Bank board. They say that is a “conflict of interest.”

Furthermore, protestors also believe racism may have been at play in her resignation.

“A black woman brought in to clean up a mess created by white racists, and those people thought she had done her work and they could push her out,” said protestor Noah Leininger. “We’re here to tell them no, she needs to keep doing work very obviously by the fact that they tried to do this.”

“These are just rumors, but I don’t believe a white male CEO could be summarily dismissed from his job as a CEO, in the same manner, that Dr. Burnette has been seemingly run out of her position at Newfields,” Paschall added.

Newfields declined to comment.