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Council members deal with racist, antisemitic comments

Common Council member Darlene Young (D-District B) at a pre-election League of Women Voters of Norwalk forum. (File)

Antisemitic and racist remarks spoken again on Zoom by an anonymous caller began Tuesday’s Common Council meeting.  A second caller who appeared poised to do the same thing was not allowed to speak, on the advice of Corporation Counsel Mario Coppola.

Council President Darlene Young (D-District B) later said she felt sorry for the callers and suggested they need something better to do, like play pickleball.

The intrusion came after a similar, more prolonged, attack on the Jan. 16 Ordinance Committee meeting. Chair Lisa Shanahan (D-District E) stopped public comment after at least five commenters tried to use their time to make hateful comments against Jewish and minority members of the community.

“We find these comments as a group absolutely abhorrent,” Shanahan said.

The video of the Ordinance Committee meeting was removed from YouTube that night and popped up Tuesday with the racist comments removed, as well as the Council members’ reactions to them.

The video of Tuesday’s Council meeting is not online.

“This is America,” Young said Tuesday to her fellow Council members. “We understand that this vitriol is not just siloed here, in this little space of Norwalk, Connecticut. This is around the globe, this is what we’re hearing and seeing across the country, and it is not good. But what I need to say to everybody around this table is that we are here to do the business of the city. And no one is going to stop us.”

It’s the most diverse Council in the city’s history and “we should all be proud of that,” she said. “… It’s unfortunate that this happens, but we’re gonna get past it.”

She said, “I don’t want to overreact to any of this. But we have to just be diligent and support each other and do what we need to do. And I thank you and the police department and everybody who stepped up very quickly. It’s not an easy thing to have folks come and say these derogatory things to us. It’s not nice to hear the N word. I don’t like to hear it.”

Comments

3 responses to “Council members deal with racist, antisemitic comments”

  1. Tysen Canevari

    It was certainly a terrible thing to witness while watching the meeting. Unfortunately, there will always be a segment of society that just doesnt get it. However, at the 11/14/23 common council meeting voting against blowers Council Woman Diana Revolus told the audience that if landscapers had more licensed workers they wouldnt get away with the sub par pay and safety hazards we present to our employees. I personally find that to be a racist and insensitive comment and wrote a note to the mayor stating that. I dont pay anyone minimum wage on my staff and safety is paramount. This is a council that never wrote the ordinance or notified the Hispanic community ONCE in spanish! We do employ a director of equity and inclusion that could have handled that at city hall. I feel that it is not reaching out to the community at all. You can witness the exchange on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7FDYOHa8Yw go to 1hr 40 min mark. Perhaps, some of our own council members can start with some sensitivity training of their own.

  2. Drew Todd

    Its REAL SIMPLE..NO MORE PUBLIC COMMENTS ON ZOOM!!!!!! Anyone that wants to comment in a meeting MUST appear IN PERSON!! If you can’t make it then email your comments and if time allows they could be read into the record. NO MORE ZOOM COMMENTS PERIOD!!

  3. John O’Neill

    It’s idiots like these anonymous callers who reinforce we still have a way to go socially on this planet. Sadly, this has
    been going on since the beginning of time. .Not sure what the ultimate answer is, but we need to ferret these lunatics out.
    I look forward to seeing these bigots’ faces on the front page of The Hour in handcuffs.
    This issue can be handled in the short term by going to Live Comments only.

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