NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — City Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-45th) on Monday addressed hate mail he has received after choosing to sit for the Pledge of Allegiance at a council meeting as a protest against racial injustice.
The New York Daily News reported Monday on the mail, which included a newspaper article with arrows drawn toward Williams’ photo and the words “drop dead you f**k” written over the copy. Also included was a note in which someone called Williams a f***ing plantation money,” among other racially hostile language.
In response to the notes, Williams first said in a statement that he had also received numerous positive messages and emails about his choice with the Pledge of Allegiance, but said some seem to “have a problem with protesting in general.”
Furthermore, Williams wrote, “the irony should not be lost on anyone that these are racist responses to a protest about continued racial inequality.”
“I invite all New Yorkers of goodwill to join me at City Hall this Wednesday at noon to continue the discussion about a practice this is rooted in the best values of America,” Williams wrote.
Last week, Williams sat during a pledge to make a “private protest public” during a City Council meeting. The rest of the City Council members stood and recited the pledge.
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A few moments ago, I made a private protest public "I've decided to make my personal protest more pronounced and public at this time for a variety of reasons. In good conscience I couldn't continue to protest quietly without using it to highlight the plight of so many. As a person who loves the country of his birth, believes in it and is privileged to have reached a modicum of success in his chosen field, I believe it is my duty to do all I can to raise the voice of those who feel voiceless and who struggle every day.
“In good conscience I couldn’t continue to protest quietly without using it to highlight the plight of so many. As a person who loves the country of his birth, believes in it and is privileged to have reached a modicum of success in his chosen field, I believe it is my duty to do all I can to raise the voice of those who feel voiceless and who struggle every day,” Williams posted on Instagram last week.
Williams told CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco last week that it has been a “personal protest of mine for most of my life.”
“Particularly in my position as a City Council member representing some of those communities, I think I have to do all that I can and a non-violent protest is a great way to do that,” Williams said last week. “I’m no less patriotic, so I reject all of those notions that somehow the national anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance, are to the sole definition of patriotism.”
Williams said in a statement that he did the protest in solidarity with San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick, who has refused to stand for the national anthem.
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