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Tone Deafness on Racism

Published June 17, 2020

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The racist tweet sent out by State Representative Craig Fishbein (R-90) last month was reprehensible for anyone, let alone an elected official. Especially at this moment in our nation, we need our elected officials to show leadership in denouncing racism, which is why we need to call out State Representative Dave Yaccarino (R-87) for his comment about Fishbein at the peaceful protest rally for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement on June 6 on the North Haven Green.

Yaccarino said that Representative Fishbein apologized for his racist tweet, so we should be okay with that and be kind. The crowd reacted with heckles and boos. Why? Because people are already outraged that an elected leader would post such a racist tweet, and for Yaccarino to give Fishbein a pass at a racial justice protest is insulting. To say Representative Yaccarino is out of touch would be an understatement. It is this kind of complicity that reveals the systemic racism that infects our country. We cannot have elected representatives who support or condone racism in any form.

Yaccarino’s voting record also speaks to his tone deafness on racism. Last year he voted against releasing police officer body camera footage that would help victims (many of whom are black) of police brutality. The bill eventually passed without his support, but why would he vote against a bill that would ultimately protect citizens and police officers? It seems disingenuous to speak at a BLM protest when your voting record does not support legislation that upholds civil rights.

Kathy Grant
North Haven

Kathy Grant chairs the Democratic Town Committee.