Citizens for Diversity and Inclusion Protest

By: Rachel Alig Email
By: Rachel Alig Email

"South side, north side, however side you want to call yourself from, as long as you look like me, you are going to be racially profiled." Those were the intense words of Reverend Milton Johnson during the protest against Mayor Barry's appointments at Dumont Plaza. Johnson is the Chairman for the organization, Citizens for Diversity and Inclusion, which held the protest.

Racial profiling is the fear the organization has because of recent actions by Mayor Cheri Barry. The group is dissatisfied with new appointments Mayor Barry has made, specifically the police chief, Lee Shelbourn.

"What are the qualifications that our honorable mayor looked at in seeking this chief?" questioned Johnson.

To answer that question, Citizens for Diversity and Inclusion said he isn't qualified. They believe it was all a political game.

"We asked the question, 'was he a relative of hers?'. We asked the question, 'was he a relative of her husbands?'" Johnson wondered out loud about the relationship between Mayor Barry and Shelbourn.

While Mr. Shelbourn is not a relative of Mayor Barry or her husband, the group still feels it's a case of friends helping friends. However, they're not pointing to any specific individuals. Members of the group said they are sick of being overlooked for political gain.

Reverend Gerald Hudson said people of all races and backgrounds need to be represented throughout the city.

"We want to see our faces on all levels of government. You ought to be able to look over that counter and see more than one person of color," said Hudson.

The committee for Diversity and Inclusion said they believe Mayor Barry's new appointments including chief of police, Lee Shelbourne, go against her campaign promise of diversity and inclusion. They said the new appointments are bad for the entire community.

"Are you going to stand by and watch your youth be racially profiled? Your schools to continue to be unsafe? Drugs being rampant upon the city? It is your choice, so make a difference," praised Johnson.

The organization said it will continue to protest what they believe to be wrong actions of the mayor. That this is not the end.


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