Jerome Harris, past chairman and present public policy chair of the Black Issues Convention, issued a statement this afternoon in response to a PolitickerNJ story.
Harris made his statement from the Black Issues Convention.
“I am deeply troubled and saddened with the comments made by Mayor Steve Fulop and his allies in an article that appeared in PolitickerNJ yesterday afternoon,” Harris said. “This article is deeply offensive not only to Gerry and Missy Balmir but is also an affront to every African American man or woman who has pledged their lives to public service in New Jersey. This notion that African Americans need ‘permission’ to seek job opportunities political or not anywhere in New Jersey hearkens back to darker periods of our American history.
“The fact that the Mayor and his allies felt comfortable enough to make these demeaning comments so publically exhibits a stunning disregard and lack of respect for African American’s and Women Statewide,” Harris added. “I mention women because it is implied in the article by the Mayor and his allies that somehow Mr. Balmir should dictate to his wife what opportunities she should pursue. Sorry Mayor Fulop, this isn’t the 1920’s. Sadly this has been a pattern played out far too often in New Jersey where we as African Americans are asked to support candidates running for Statewide office but are offered little to nothing as it relates to opportunities to play senior roles on campaigns; be awarded consultant opportunities; or get placed in Senior roles within these official’s offices once they are elected. We will be watching the tone and rhetoric of all candidates going forward ensure that all people of color throughout the State of New Jersey are treated with respect and deference that is deserved.”