House candidate John Flora defended Jersey City School Board member Joan Terrell-Paige after an anti-Semitic Facebook post she made drew calls for her resignation from Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and Gov. Phil Murphy.
“Rather than hastily demanding her resignation,” said Flora, “this was an ideal moment for our locally elected to sit down with Mrs. Terrell, clarify her statements, and be prepared to demonstrate empathy. Was she still processing the event? Did it traumatize her? Did it remind her of years of trauma that her Greeneville neighbors experienced?”
Following a shooting at a kosher market that ended with six dead earlier this month, Terrell-Paige made a Facebook post that asked what message the two shooters were hoping to send.
“Where was all this faith and hope when Black homeowners were threatened, intimidated, and harassed by I WANT TO BUY YOUR HOUSE brutes of the jewish community,” she wrote in the since-deleted post.
Flora, a Jersey City teacher, said criticism of the school board member’s post was due but also missed the mark.
“I can see why some people said her comments lacked sensitivity. She shouldn’t have directly asked ‘what is the message [that the shooters] were sending?’ But there still remains a bigger conversation to be had by the city and the school district alike” Flora said. “The Black community has been plagued by violence and a sense of abandonment for decades. Tragedies happen all the time in certain areas of Jersey City without any national attention. There is an outcry for help here we can no longer ignore.”
Flora is mounting a primary challenge to Rep. Donald Payne Jr.