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Jersey City Mayor Calls for Board of Education Trustee’s Resignation Over Calling Jews ‘Brutes’

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December 17, 2019
JERSEY CITY, NJ – MAY 05: Honorary Trustee, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop speaks on stage during Genius Gala 6.0 at Liberty Science Center on May 5, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Liberty Science Center)

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop called for Jersey City Board of Education (JCBOE) Trustee Joan Terrell-Paige to resign from her position after she called Jews “brutes” and suggested people should listen to the Jersey City shooters’ message in a since-deleted December 15 Facebook comment.

Terrell-Paige, posting under the name Joan Terrell, was commenting on a column describing how various community leaders came together in light of the December 10 shooting at a kosher market that resulted in six dead, including the two shooters. “Where was all this faith and hope when black homeowners were threatened, harassed by [the] I WANT TO BUY YOUR HOUSE brutes of the Jewish community?” Terrell-Paige wrote.

She also asked, “Who helped black people living in rental properties owned by the Jewish people but were given 30-day conviction notices so that more Jewish people could move in?” and claimed there were six rabbis “accused of selling body parts.”

Terrell-Paige later wrote that she believed the shooters knew they were going to die when they went into the kosher market. “What is the message they were sending?” Terrell-Paige asked. “Are we brave enough to explore the answer to their message?” She concluded her post noting she was speaking as a private citizen, not as a trustee of the Jersey City Board of Education.

Fulop, who is Jewish, tweeted on December 17, “My opinion is she should resign. That type of language has no place in our schools and no place amongst elected officials. Imagine she said this about any other community – what would the reaction be? The same standard should apply here.”

Jersey City School Board President Sudhan Thomas also condemned Terrell-Paige’s remarks in a statement to NJ.com. “Trustee Paige’s comments do not reflect the JCBOE outlook or value system,” Thomas said. “The JCBOE is home to 30,000 students and 6,000 employees from various ethnicities, religions, cultures and sexual orientation. There is no room for any kind of hate or bigotry in Jersey City.”

He also told Politico that Terrell-Paige’s post was taken down on December 16 and he is in contact with “Jewish community leaders to bring about some immediate-term anti-bias and sensitivity training.”

Anti-Defamation League New York and New Jersey Regional Director Evan Bernstein similarly said in a statement that Terrell-Paige’s comments were “deeply anti-Semitic and highly offensive to the victims [of the Jersey City shooting]. They also do not reflect the beliefs and values of the Jersey City community, which has come together in this time of darkness to support one another and firmly stand against hatred and bigotry of any kind.”

Terrell-Paige told Politico she did not personally take down the Facebook comment and did not regret her remarks.

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