Congressional hopeful says that Terrell-Paige shouldn’t resign from Jersey City BOE

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10th District congressional hopeful John Flora says that while her remarks were probably insensitive, he doesn’t agree with the elected leaders calling for a school board trustee to resign over a deleted Facebook post many referred to as anti-Semitic.

10th district Democratic congressional candidate John Flora. Facebook photo.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Rather than hastily demanding her resignation this was an ideal moment for our locally elected to sit down with Mrs. Terrell, clarify her statements, and be prepared to demonstrate empathy,” Flora said in a statement.

“Was she still processing the event? Did it traumatize her? Did it remind her of years of trauma that her Greenville neighbors experienced?”

Earlier this month, Jersey City Board of Education Trustee Joan Terrell-Paige posted on Facebook that members of Greenville’s Jewish community were “brutes” for the way they acquired property and forced African Americans out of their homes, as HCV first reported.

“Where was all this faith and hope when Black homeowners were threatened, intimidated, and harassed by I WANT TO BUY YOUR HOUSE brutes of the jewish community? They brazenly came on the property of Ward F Black homeowners and waved bags of money,” the post said.

The comment, which was on a Facebook thread, came less than a week after a December 10th domestic terrorist incident in Jersey City, which authorities said was motivated by anti-Semitic and anti-law enforcement beliefs, claimed four innocent lives.

Mayor Steven Fulop immediately called for Terrell-Paige to step down, with Gov. Phil Murphy, Jersey City Education Association President Ron Greco, Ward E Councilman James Solomon, New Jersey State Democratic Committee Chair John Currie, BOE Trustee Mussab Ali, and Assemblymen Nick Chiaravalloti (D-31), Raj Mukherji (D-33), and Gary Schaer (D-36) all following suit.

On the other hand, the Hudson County Democratic Organization Black Caucus expressed a sentiment along Flora’s mindset, indicating that while Terrell-Paige’s delivery was poor, her statement still “heightened awareness around issues that must be addressed.”

Flora, a Greenville native who is also a Jersey City teacher, further explained why he felt her comments had some real value.

“I can see why some people said her comments lacked sensitivity. She shouldn’t have directly asked ‘what is the message [that the shooters] were sending?’ But there still remains a bigger conversation to be had by the city and the school district alike,” Flora stated.

“The black community has been plagued by violence and a sense of abandonment for decades. Tragedies happen all the time in certain areas of Jersey City without any national attention. There is an outcry for help here we can no longer ignore.”

A school board meeting had been scheduled for December 19th, with the board slated to vote on a non-binding resolution to censure Terrell-Paige, as well as requesting her resignation.

However, that meeting was cancelled due to “potential security risks,” while public meetings for December 23rd and December 30th were also called off.

The board is set to convene next at the Public School No. 41, located at 59 Wilkinson Ave., on Thursday at 6 p.m. This will be their annual reorganization meeting to select a new president and vice president.

Prior to the meeting, a 5:30 p.m candlelight vigil in front of the school will allow residents to voice their support for Terrell-Paige to remain on the board. Her term expires at the end of 2020.

Flora has already announced his intentions to run against U.S. Rep. Donald Payne (D-10) in the June Democratic primary.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Terrel-Paige glorified the murderers of 3 innocent people as martyrs who knowingly gave their lives to send a message that she hopes we will have the “courage” to listen to.

    It was not merely anti-Semitic – it was despicable.

    The elected officials (like Sandra Cunningham) and wannabe elected officials like this guy who pander to the haters instead of calling it what it is should be ashamed.

    Kudos to Joyce Watterman for refusing to join the chorus pandering to the haters.

  2. Instead of rationalizing Ms. Terrell-Paige’s comments, what people ought to ask themselves is, what if a public official, just days after the Charleston church shooting of 2015, had said:

    “Dylan Roof went directly to the church. I believe he knew he would come out in handcuffs. What is the message he was sending? Are we brave enough to explore the answer to his message?”

    Please note for context that I *do not* intend the above paraphrasing of Ms. Terrell-Paige’s comment to be taken literally or reflective in any way of my own beliefs. Rather, I offer it as an example of contemptible, reprehensible, racist, horrific rhetoric that, if stated in seriousness by anyone — especially an elected representative of the community — should be greeted with the utmost degree of scorn and outrage.

    That exact degrée of scorn and outrage, and nothing less, is what Ms. Terrell-Paige’s comments warrant. Any person who makes such comments, about any ethnic or religious group, especially in the wake of an attack so fresh the bodies have not yet gone cold, and makes those comments without apology or retraction, needs to be ostracized from polite society and rejected from public office.

    And anybody who calls for anything less needs ask themselves what kind of hatred they harbor in their hearts that drives them to sanction, tolerate and rationalize terrorism against their own neighbors and fellow Americans.

  3. Funny how progressive liberals will hair-trigger sensitivity to anything remotely insensitive uttered by a white person will just gloss over outright racist and bigoted statements made by blacks. The double-standard is quite clear.

    • The hypocrisy is stunning but certainly not limited to progressives. This is pretty comparable to President Trump saying “there are good people on both sides.”

    • That’s a broad and inaccurate generalization. More to the point is the hypocrisy of a community whose leaders typically call (rightfully) for more diversity turning their backs on diversity that isn’t to their liking. Hasidic Jews may largely have white skin, but they are most certainly not considered white by white nationalists, who detest Jews and blacks with equal vigor. Local black leaders failing to embrace the growing Jewish community as brethren in the struggle for diversity and against white supremacy is a very bad look indeed.

      Terrell-Paige and other prominent members of the local black community who have supported or tolerated her bigoted comments should overcome their bigotry and welcome the positive changes that will come with increased diversity in the community. The only people who have anything to fear in the diversifying demography are participants in the drug and gang world, who have a vested interest in keeping Greenville from evolving into a healthier, more desirable area where their days of preying upon the poor and powerless will be numbered.

      If Terrell-Paige is sincerely concerned about protecting the community from “brutes,” she should welcome the newcomers and do everything in her power to help expedite the new businesses and jobs that come with a neighborhood on the upswing and create opportunities for kids to avoid becoming pawns of the predatory criminal elements.

  4. These despicable and blatantly racist comments by an elected official are ONLY tolerated by the regressive Left for one reason…..They were uttered by a black person. If this had been a white person spreading such drivel they would rightly be pilloried. But, according to the regressive Left, blacks are incapable of being held responsible for their bigotry and racism because they “lack power”! What a crock of sh*t.

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