For the past eight months, residents of Beverly/Morgan Park have joined with their friends and neighbors in the southwest suburbs to stand up against Islamophobia and race-baiting.
Members and friends of Southsiders for Peace and the Southwest Chicago Diversity Collaborative have joined community groups—including the Arab American Action Network, Arab American Family Services and Take on Hate—to call on Palos Township Trustee Sharon Brannigan to resign from the board of trustees because of the racist remarks she posted on Facebook, which include the following:
“In the 3rd District here in Illinois, our demographics include 25 percent Muslims of which very few integrate into their communities keeping themselves and their activities hidden from the general population. Everywhere you turn, from Orland Park to Bridgeview, those numbers are increasing in leaps and bounds. We are allowing these people, whether they have peaceful intentions or not, into our country without question.”
Brannigan has decried bullying in our community, yet she has made bullying statements herself, calling Muslim women undignified, suggesting that all Middle-Eastern students in our schools are undocumented and accusing Muslims of “hidden activities” in our community.
These are the typical smears and innuendo that race-baiters have always used to target and vilify foreign-born people and people of color. This language is especially troubling given the rise in hate crimes since January 2017 directed against Arabs, Muslims, Jews, Asians and African-Americans.
Words like those embolden and inflame the haters in our midst. Brannigan claims to have apologized for her remarks. Her “apology,” like others we have heard so often, is merely that she was “sorry that some people were offended.”
Since Brannigan will not repudiate her hate speech, she should resign from the township board, and we call on her fellow trustees in Palos Township to repudiate her and her ideas.
Mat Tomkowiak, Mike Wolf, Anthony Thompson, Adrianne Topic, Charline McGrath, Francoise Johnson, Lenore Wolf, Laura Amaro, Debbie Navabi and Mark J. Kuehner