On The Annual Commemoration Honoring The Legacy Of Dr. King, Organized Labor Joins With An Array Of Community Groups To ‘Stand United Against’ The Bigotry & Racism Of Buffalo School Board Member Carl Paladino
(BUFFALO, NEW YORK) - Today (Monday, January 16th), hundreds from the Buffalo area, including those from Organized Labor and an array of community groups, assembled in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park to not only honor the legacy and memory of this great Civil Rights Leader, but to come together with a host of community groups to stand united in denouncing the bigotry and racism of Buffalo School Board Member Carl Paladino.
Taking part in the remembrance and prayer services were Labor Leaders and Officials from the Western New York AFL-CIO Area Labor Federation (WNYALF), the New York State AFL-CIO, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) and the Buffalo Chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), as well as representatives from the Buffalo Chapter of the NAACP, the Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization, the Buffalo Urban League, the Concerned Clergy Coalition, VOICE Buffalo, the Coalition for Economic Justice (CEJ), and We Are Women Warriors.
All participated in not only remembering and praising the Civil Rights advancements of Dr. King, but to come together as a community to stand up to the bigoted and racist comments made by Buffalo School Board Member Paladino, a former Republican Gubernatorial Candidate and staunch support of President-Elect Donald Trump, whose remarks wishing for the death of President Obama and horrible statements concerning the First Lady have sparked a firestorm of backlash from all segments of the Buffalo community over the past several weeks (For more, read WNYLaborToday.com’s January 13th Labor News Story, Headlined: Buffalo Teachers Federation To Seek Removal Of Buffalo School Board Member Carl Paladino Following His “Racist, Demented And Obscene” Comments Involving President Obama & The First Lady).
Those who took part in today’s event called for the ouster of Paladino from the school board and reiterated that call for New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia to make the necessary moves that will ultimately result in having Paladino removed from his elected position.
“Every year we come together to ‘honor the meaningful actions’ of Dr. King and to ‘focus in on local issues,’ but this year, the comments made by Paladino are ‘vexing.’ ‘They are racist.’ That’s why the Western New York Labor Movement is ‘working with’ a coalition of community groups to ‘highlight the good work’ of Dr. King and our Labor Movement, but to also ‘stand up’ for the children who attend Buffalo’s Public Schools,” WNYALF President Richard Lipsitz told WNYLaborToday.com just before today’s event.
The Reverend Terrence Melvin, a Lackawanna native who serves as Secretary-Treasurer of the 2.5 million Member New York State AFL-CIO and is the International President of the CBTU, said in a released statement: "As a statewide Union Leader with ‘roots’ in Buffalo, I am ‘disgusted’ by Mr. Paladino’s ‘deplorable statements’ towards our nation’s president, along with the ‘filth that he has spewed throughout the years.’ Clearly, ‘he has no regard for the welfare of our children and how this influences the quality of their education.’ People go to work every day to fund the Buffalo School District’s educational system and ‘if Paladino is what they get for their hard-earned money, then this is totally unacceptable.’"
Robert Mootry, who serves as the area Chapter President of the CBTU, told Your On-Line Labor Newspaper just before today’s event: “This is a ‘very special day.’ Dr. King treated ‘everyone’ fairly, but we have a school board member who has said some ‘very unacceptable’ things that ‘cannot be justified by claiming freedom of speech.’ We ‘cannot tolerate these words.’”
The Reverend Mark Blue, who serves as President of the Buffalo Chapter of the NAACP, said in a prepared statement: “On Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the people of Buffalo will ‘stand united against’ Carl Paladino in a city-wide prayer vigil. We will be praying to ‘honor the spirit’ of MLK by ‘lifting up’ our community, our school board, and our children ‘against’ racism, bigotry, and ‘all manners of disruption’ in the administration of their education. As a community, we will ‘stand united for the removal’ of Carl Paladino from the Buffalo School Board. Today marks the ‘beginning of a movement that will not stop until Carl Paladino is removed’ from the Buffalo School Board. We will ‘no longer tolerate his bullying tactics’ on our school board. His ‘racist and demeaning behaviors’ displayed recently and in the past are ‘disgraceful’ to our city and ‘disruptive’ to our children’s education.”
And Jim Anderson, who serves as President of Peace Action New York State and is Vice President of Citizen Action of New York, said in prepared statement: “Buffalo citizens ‘are right to call’ for Carl Paladino's ‘removal.’ The ‘questionable slow action’ of the New York State Education Commissioner is ‘unacceptable.’ Paladino's ‘despicable actions cannot be excused away, nor can he be allowed to continue’ on the Buffalo School Board.”
WNYLaborToday.com Editor's Note: Photos Courtesy of the Coalition for Economic Justice and New York State United Teachers Western Staff Representative Mike Deely Via the Social Network Facebook.