Democratic leaders in New Jersey said Thursday they are “denouncing hate” after some state residents received a flyer condemning racial equity initiatives, like affirmative action.
The flyer accused the Biden Administration and left-wing officials who support racial equity of discrimination against white and Asian Americans.
At a news conference held outside Paterson City Hall, Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (D-Passaic) called the letter “racist propaganda.” She was joined by Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-Passaic), Rep. Bill Pascrell (NJ-9), the NAACP, and other Passaic and Bergen Counties leaders.
Sumter is the chair of the New Jersey Black Legislative Caucus and has championed racial equity initiatives in the state, like calls for a reparations task force.
“The flyer circulating is a remnant of our country’s oppressive segregated past.” Sumter said, “It reflects the very same bigoted statements and sentiments that made affirmative action necessary, and we push to move New Jersey forward.”
Sumter blamed the Republican party for the flyer’s circulation. However, it appears they came from America First Legal, a right-wing non-profit organization founded by former Trump Administration aide, Stephen Miller.
“We are never going back to the time where promoting racism and hate is the norm,” Sumter said. “Gone are the days where those who express hateful speech and actions towards minorities go unaddressed and are not held accountable.”
Republican Billy Prempeh, who is running for New Jersey’s 9th Congressional District in next week’s election against Rep. Pascrell, repeatedly interrupted Thursday’s news conference. He said he was there to show his disapproval of the messaging on the flyers, but accused Democrats of using Republicans as a scapegoat.
“You guys are saying the Republicans are putting this stuff out. I didn’t put any of that crap out,” said Prempeh, who is Black.
“You wanted somebody here to disavow. I’m here to disavow.”
Prempeh, a former Democrat and U.S. Air Force veteran from Paterson, said he was drawn to the Republican party after he disapproved of the Obama Administration’s military actions in Libya.
He called longtime Democratic officials “the establishment,” claiming they had “sold out” communities of color.
“[Democrats] have been in control of the country for the past two years.” Prempeh said, “Nothing good has come from them being in office. The supply chain has completely fallen apart. They botched the removal of our troops out of The Middle East.”
Rep. Pascrell called Prempeh “discourteous” before giving his prepared remarks.
It comes as the conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court takes up a case that could upend affirmative action amid a tight midterm election season.
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