Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick on Monday spoke out against a resolution naming July 13 as Black Lives Matter Day, citing concerns about the legislature tying itself to an outside organization.
“Black lives matter, but this resolution doesn’t deal with a concept. It refers to a specific organization. If you would take out a specific organization, I think you could get a unanimous vote in this house today, but no, this refers to an organization, and on their website, they praise a cop killer,” Bramnick said on the Assembly floor Monday. “They talk about defunding the police, and now we’re going to have a day that’s specifically referred to an organization.”
The joint resolution establishing the holiday passed the Assembly with 53 yes votes and 18 abstentions. Nine members of the chamber cast no vote.
Most of Bramnick’s caucus joined with him in abstention, though Assemblymen Ryan Peters (R-Hainesport), Chris DePhillips (R-Wyckoff), Antwan McClellan (R-Ocean City), Brian Bergen (R-Denville), Erik Simonsen (R-Lower) and Assemblywomen Aura Dunn (R-Mendham), BettyLou DeCroce (R-Parsippany-Troy Hills) and Jean Stanfield (R-Westampton) crossed party lines to back the measure.
Braminck said the vote may have been unanimous had the resolution not referred to the Black Lives Matter movement and its founders specifically.
“Let’s do this right. Let’s join together as one house and talk about black lives matter, but when you refer to an organization that specifically says now, and may say things in the future, that we all don’t agree on, that takes away from our ability to join as one,” he said. “You’re forcing many of us to abstain because you are adopting positions of an entity outside of this chamber.”