Chairman Mendelson’s Statement Regarding Comments by Councilmember Trayon White

Chairman Phil Mendelson gave the following statement from the dais at today’s Committee of the Whole meeting, regarding Councilmember Trayon White’s controversial comments.

“Last Friday Councilmember Trayon White posted a statement on social media that has been widely condemned, and rightfully so.  I think I can speak for every member that the remark was inappropriate and evoked anti-Semitic rhetoric from the past.

“Councilmember White has apologized for the remark.  Many councilmembers have said they accept his apology, and I find it to be sincere and unequivocal.

“Nonetheless, this is an important moment to restate the position of the Council and the view of its members that intolerance and prejudiced words have no place in our community.  Time and again we have spoken out against bigotry, intolerance, prejudice, anti-Semitism, and racism.  Indeed, this Council participated in a training last week focused on racial equity because we believe this issue is serious.

 “Repeatedly, we have adopted legislation and resolutions to promote tolerance – racial, religious, and ethnic – and to celebrate diversity.  Our view – the Council’s view – has not changed.

“Mr. White has apologized.  Yesterday he and I met with Rabbi Glazer to discuss the broader context of anti-Semitism.  We agreed, and I have asked Council Secretary to hold a meeting next Tuesday between the Council and leaders of the Jewish community.

“Sometimes we – each of us – have to work harder to understand the experience and perspectives of the many communities that make up our rich and precious diversity.  This is one of those times, and I am hopeful that we, all of us, have learned from this moment.”