AUBURN, Maine (AP) – A Muslim civil rights and civil rights organization is calling for the resignation of a Maine city councilor for racist comments targeting black people.
Councilor Leroy Walker made the remarks during a discussion about the appointment of a pedestrian bridge in honor of John Jenkins, the first black to serve as a senator from the state of Maine. He was also mayor of Lewiston and Auburn.
Walker said “dark people” have recently broken laws in the South “putting a bad name on good people” like Jenkins, the Sun Journal reported.
Walker told the newspaper that he just wanted his fellow councilors to know that some people in the community were suspicious of the idea and believed it was meant to appease rapidly growing communities of color. Lewiston and Auburn are both home to several thousand new arrivals from Africa.
He told The Associated Press he just wanted councilors to understand that there were different views in the community.
“I am in no way racist,” he said.
Walker ended the interview after saying he and Jenkins were friends.
He did not respond to the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ call for him to resign.
“When a national, state or local official presents racist views, it indicates that he or she cannot fairly represent a diverse community,” Ismail Allison, a CAIR official, said in a statement.
Councilor Katie Boss told the Sun Journal that the episode underscored the need for more discussion on diversity, equity and inclusion, and she urged officials to take action to embrace efforts to combat racism.
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