Dejon Morris, Bruce Alston react to Angela McKnight’s summer speech in LD-31

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After a nearly 11-minute, emotionally charged speech of Angela McKnight, the AngelaCARES, Inc. Founder and CEO who is running for Assembly on the Hudson County Democratic Organization line in District 31, was published yesterday, two African American candidates running off the line reacted to her remarks.  Morris-Alston

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Dejon Morris, a Jersey City police detective who is also the co-pastor at Mt. Olive Baptist Church, said he wasn’t particularly offended by McKnight’s use of the n-word – which she said while quoting a would-be business owner – at the June 25 rally, but said community leaders should hold themselves to a higher standard.

“I understand that she was speaking passionately about a variety of issues, including the shooting death of her nephew, but again, a community leader needs to keep a certain level of professionalism,” Morris told Hudson County View in a phone interview.

“I’m just stating facts, I’m not attacking her. If community leaders and/or potential elected officials make statements in public, where cameras are rolling, we’re going to have to answer to them eventually. It may not be tomorrow, but it will happen eventually.”

Morris, who said he watched the full 10-minute and 48 second video clip from the rally in its entirety, was more upset about the way McKnight created an anti-police atmosphere by stating misinformation about the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida three years ago (h/t New York Times).

“If we’re going to talk about rallying the community to take a stand against violence in black communities, that’s great, but let’s make sure we’re presenting accurate information,” Morris stated.

“Trayvon Martin was killed by a community watchdog, who is Hispanic, so to create the perception that the shooter was a white police officer … that’s just irresponsible.”

Here is a portion of what McKnight said regarding Martin’s death at the Morticians That Care rally:

“When Trayvon Martin passed away, and he was killed by that white cop, everybody was out… everybody was out, every church… everybody had those hoodies on. Why can’t we walk around with blood on our shirt? Let’s get some Kool-Aid and walk around with some blood on our shirts, to make a statement.”

Finally, Morris questioned McKnight’s overall decorum at the rally.

“I understand the jargon used by our youth, particularly in ‘the hood’ as people like to call it, but that wasn’t the type of crowd she was addressing here. Is this the way she will address constituents or colleagues if elected to office?”

Bruce Alston, a Jersey City businessman running alongside former Bayonne council candidate Washington Flores, said via text message that he will leave it up to the District 31 voters to decide if the speech in question is relevant or not.

“The video is something that I believe must be judged by the eyes of the citizens. They must decide whether or not it has any bearing on their vote,” he wrote to Hudson County View.

“I believe it displays raw emotion with no regard for political correctness, I think Angela was expressing frustration with the lack of concern for the ongoing fight against the culture of poverty in the African American community.”