Democratic State Rep. Gerald Brady of Wilmington still plans to serve out the remaining year-and-a-half of his term, despite calls from some for his resignation.
Brady was caught last week using a racial slur in reference to Asian women in an email sent to someone out-of-state about legislation designed to protect sex workers from human trafficking. That email was then forwarded to the Wilmington News Journal, which published the comments.
In an emailed statement Monday morning, Brady announced his plans not to run for re-election at the end of next year. He was just elected this past November to a two-year term.
“However, my recent actions – using a deeply offensive anti-Asian slur and attempting to make a crass joke about human trafficking – make it more difficult to effectively provide the kind of representation all residents of the 4th District expect and deserve. All residents should have elected officials who serve and treat others with dignity and respect, whether it’s in public forums or in private communications,” Brady said.
“There can be no excuse for my actions, and after careful reflection these past several days, I have decided that I will not seek re-election when my term ends. I cannot in good conscience ask the voters to put their faith in me again after I betrayed theirs. I can only humbly and unequivocally apologize again for my actions, for which I am solely responsible.”
Brady said he also plans to undergo “sensitivity training” and work to make amends with members of the Asian American community.
Democratic leaders in the House, including Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, and Majority Whip Larry Mitchell, issued a joint statement calling Brady’s comments reprehensible and indefensible.
“After several very frank conversations with him these past few days, we are grateful that he has reached this decision today. We know that it cannot absolve his actions, but we hope it is a first step toward healing and addressing this situation,” House leaders said.
“During these remaining months, we will ensure that Rep. Brady completes the sensitivity training we directed him to take, as well as reaching out to the Asian American community. We are sincere in our belief that he must take positive steps toward bettering himself and repairing those connections going forward. We also will continue to review the situation and will take any other actions we deem proper and necessary at the appropriate time.”
Sensitivity training will be made available to all members of the House chamber, so everyone can identify microaggressions and other attitudes or actions that negatively impact the Asian American community, Democratic leaders said.
Brady’s comments come amid a year of increased attention to attacks against Asian Americans following the killing of eight people in a series of shootings at massage parlors in the Atlanta area.
A national report by the group Stop AAPI Hate found a significant increase in the number of anti-Asian incidents reported between March 2020 and March 2021. Of more than 6,600 incidents, 65% involved verbal harassment, 12.6% involved physical violence, and 7% were online.
Last week, Sung Yeon Choimorrow, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, said Brady’s comments demonstrate the pervasiveness of racism toward Asian Americans, especially Asian American women.
“I think that it’s really disheartening to see that. If anybody should be paying attention to what’s happening with the Asian American community, and learning about the plight of Asian American women from … since the beginning of our time here, it should be lawmakers,” she said.
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