By Saraana Jamraj
During their April 22 city commission meeting, the Tamarac City Commission voted, amidst a tearful discussion, to draft a resolution denouncing white supremacy.
The motion was brought forward by Commissioner Mike Gelin, citing facts from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit organization that specializes in identifying and monitoring hate groups.
“Since Number 45 became elected, there has been a rise in the number of attacks from extreme[ist] groups, or white nationalist groups,” he said, referring to President Trump.
He also shared that the Anti-Defamation League, which fights against antisemitism, reported an increase in incidents, distribution of propaganda, and demonstrations and that The Center for Strategic and International Studies found that terrorist attacks by far-right groups quadrupled between 2016 and 2017.
“I don’t believe we have any particular issue in the City of Tamarac [with white supremacy], but I do feel it’s important to make a statement and make it clear that our city does not support discrimination in any way, shape, or form,” said Gelin, who added that a lot of the rise in far-right extremism is attributed to the hatred fueled by the current president, either directly or indirectly.
Vice Mayor Marlon Bolton stated that he wanted to make it clear to the residents of Tamarac that his support of this was not based on Gelin’s comments about the president.
“We, as elected officials in the City of Tamarac, do represent residents who are Republican and love our president,” said Bolton. “We do have residents who feel that he is not racist, that he is not any of the above.”
Commissioner Julie Fishman agreed with Bolton, stating that denouncing white supremacy goes beyond who the president of the country is, and pointed out that racism has been going on for hundreds of years.
“Yesterday was Yom HaShoah, which was the anniversary of the Holocaust. Having a vote on this issue, today is perfect timing,” Fishman said, in tears.
Mayor Michelle Gomez said she was in tears too, and agreed with the Bolton and Fishman.
“It is a shame that in this day and age, it is still going on.”
During the live stream, Facebook user, Scott Ob, asked Bolton for a reprimand of Gelin.
“How about getting your colleague to apologize for not referring to our President as President Trump but as 45. His racism stands clear,” said Ob.
Presumably, after reading the comment, Bolton did just that.
“I just also want to clarify that I do not subscribe to the belief that you have to call the president of United States 45,” said Bolton.
He clarified that he was a Democrat, by no means Republican, but still supported any elected president.
“Regardless of who they are, whether or not we agree with them, I believe they should be respected to some degree,” said Bolton.
Despite their minor disagreements on the president, the commission was unified to denounce white supremacy—and voted unanimously to draft a resolution against it.
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- Saraana Selene Jamraj is a writer, activist, and a student pursuing her master's degree in mass communications at Florida International University.
She's currently the communications manager at The Salt Box in Parkland and has lived in Coral Springs since 2004.
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