Official From Sharpton-Led Group Defends Jersey City Education Board Member Who Blamed Kosher Market Attack on Jews
An official from a civil rights group whose leader has been frequently accused of antisemitism has leaped to the defense of the Jersey City Board of Education member who justified the Dec. 10 gun attack on a kosher market in the city.
“She said nothing wrong. Everything she said is the truth,” declared Carolyn Oliver Fair — executive director of the North Jersey Chapter of the National Action Network, whose president is the Rev. Al Sharpton — in defense of Joan Terrell Paige, the board member whose now-deleted entry on her Facebook page ranted against the “brutes of the jewish community” before asking whether society was “brave enough” to understand the “message” of the two shooters, David Anderson and Francine Graham.
Terell Paige’s comments were roundly condemned by New Jersey political leaders, with Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop leading calls for her immediate resignation from the Board of Education.
“For part of the last week, we’ve been talking about more anti-bias and anti-hate programs in our schools, and here you have an elected Board of Education member who’s spurring hate,” Fulop told The Algemeiner in an interview on Wednesday.
But according to Oliver Fair, both Fulop and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy “need to shut their mouths.”
“How dare they speak out against someone saying how they feel. She said nothing wrong. Everything she said is the truth. So where is this antisemitism coming in? I am not getting it,” Oliver Fair told The Jersey Journal.
She then went on to falsely claim that the two shooters were in fact “Jewish,” according to the same news outlet. Both Anderson and Graham had ties to an extremist, antisemitic fringe of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement.
More support for Terrell Paige came from the Jackson Hill Main Street Management Corporation, a non-profit urban development organization.
“Mrs. Paige like others are very frustrated and that was her expressing herself,” said Michele Massey, the group’s executive director. “She is a senior in the community. She has seen a lot. She hears a lot. She heard the cries of the people during a time when folks were trying to purchase homes in the community.”
Another group of local politicians distanced themselves from Terrell Paige’s statement while saying that she had raised valid concerns.
The Hudson County Democratic Black Caucus said in a statement that it did “not condone hatred towards any group.”
The group said that the “actions taken by the two individuals on December 10, 2019 were not reflective of our community.”
The statement continued, “while we do not agree with the delivery of the statement made by Ms. Terrell Paige, we believe that her statement has heightened awareness around issues that must be addressed and should be a topic of a larger conversation by two communities that have already and must always continue to coexist harmoniously.”
The statement was signed by state Sen. Sandra Cunningham, Assemblywoman Angela V. McKnight, Freeholder Jerry Walker, and Jersey City Council members Joyce Watterman, Denise Ridley, and Jermaine Robinson.
Speaking for himself, Robinson later said that Terrell Paige should in fact step down, The Jersey Journal reported.