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Silence is Violence: Why Won’t Senator Phillips Publicly Condemn Anti Asian/ Anti LGBT Hate Speech in her District?

Thank you Anna Kaplan, (Democrat for New York State Senate District 7) for denouncing a vile act of hate speech against the Asian American and LGBT communities right here in our very own Nassau Country backyard in an event that occurred on October 21st, 2018 at the Great Neck Autofest and Street Fair right in front of Senator Elaine Phillips campaign table.
From Anna Kaplan’s public statement on Facebook, “The disturbing video of Great Neck Library Trustee Candidate Mimi Hu being verbally attacked and harassed by two women who were standing at the Great Neck Republican Club table during last Sunday’s Great Neck Street Fair was an atrocious example of the unfortunate hatred and bigotry that persists in 2018.
The cause of the incident (to the extent it can be discerned) is Hu’s support of transgender rights, which is an odd issue to arise in a library board election, but in the current political environment, seemingly no election is immune from the same forces of hate and intolerance that swirl through our national and state races.”
From The Island Now article posted on Oct 24th titled “Library Candidate assailed at Great neck Street Fair,” the account was described like this: “In a video of the incident, the two women, Mersedeh Rofeim and Valerie Shalit, were heard calling Hu a ‘communist fascist’ and asking ‘are you a man or a woman?’ One said ‘take that sh*t to China’ regarding support for transgender people and told her to ‘get out of my personal space’ as Hu tried to walk past a stand…. This is who we want,’ she said, referring to Zhang, before pointing to Hu. ‘Not transvestite.’ She and Shalit went on to chant “Shame on you!’” Rofeim continued to say, “No transgender to Great Neck. No transgender.”
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I have never in 13 years of living on Long Island seen such blatant hatred for a minority group and against the LGBT community where the individuals instead of retreating, doubled down in confidence and conviction despite knowing they were being filmed on camera.
Considering State Senator Elaine Phillips posts all day long on social media about her comings and goings, her denouncements, her endorsements and all her photo opportunities, I find it quite telling that this time she chose to sit this one out. I called her office on October 25th, a full five days after the incident happened and after pictures surfaced on Republican District 3 Congressional candidate Dan Debono’s Twitter where he posted pictures of himself, Phillips, and a few others posing with these two abominable characters, where they posed thick as thieves. Then, I was rudely shot down by Phillips’ Chief of Staff Kathy Wade when I inquired if the Senator would be publicly condemning these hate acts occurring in her district on her Facebook page. I passionately explained that in this hate filled environment perpetuated by our President and largely ignored and fueled by Republican leadership in America, racial slurs against Asian Americans and against the LGBT/Transgender community are despicable, disgusting and not to be tolerated, ever. Wade was quick to cut me off and doubled down that no statement would be made on Facebook. When I challenged the reasoning she basically said “she doesn’t want to, doesn’t have to and doesn’t need to.”
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Instead she told me that this incident was between the parties involved and that Elaine Phillips has a great relationship with the residents in Great Neck and need not worry. She also said that she would email me Phillips’ statement instead, the only statement she would be making publically. I hung up saying I looked forward reading this official statement. Instead, I received a paragraph statement that looked written hastily and shoddily by her staff that wasn’t even on official letterhead, not signed by the Senator and was devoid of any support for the Asian and LGBT communities.
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Shocking. Disgraceful. To me that says a lot. Phillips picks and chooses winners. In this day and age of Trump/Republican America, if you do not 100% push back on hate, then #silenceisviolence
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Perhaps her silence has something to do with the fact that Phillips voted twice to defeat GENDA in committee (once in 2017 and once in 2018) in the NY State Senate.
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According to the Washington Blade, “The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, or GENDA, was defeated in the New York Senate Investigations & Government Operations Committee by a 5-4 party-line vote. The measure would have amended the state human rights law to bar discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression and would have added transgender people to the state human rights law.”
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In fact, Phillips was THE deciding vote in 2018.
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It’s no wonder some of her most vocal supporters are trans-phobic and why she didn’t want to touch the transgender slurs with a 10 foot pole!
With Trump set to roll back transgender rights and protections, Phillips has made transgender New Yorkers particularly vulnerable by voting down the bill.
Interestingly, the Senator has a pattern of silence or selectively condoning bigotry and displays of outrage.
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I typed in the search bar on her facebook the word “Charlottesville” and the message I received was “Sorry, we couldn’t find any results for this search.
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Instead nearly 2 weeks later she refers to the national news story as a “small picturesque American city” instead of strangely referencing Charlottesville explicitly. On a recent condemnation post, and in light of her silence, she hypocritically writes “The recent hateful rant from Louis Farrakhan is reprehensible and has no place in our society. I stand with all our Jewish brothers and sisters to strongly denounce the anti-Semitic remarks and needless display of hatred. We must stand united and eliminate hate from our communities, state and nation”.
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A commenter was quick to point out a reference to an ad of her 2016 opponent that was made to look like a character from Fiddler on the Roof.
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“Anti-Semitism is something you appear to tolerate and even encourage when it benefits you politically and condemn when it costs you nothing. Save your insincerity, Senator’. I want to believe in my heart that she stands behind her anti-semitic denouncements because its hard for me to believe otherwise, but my problem lies in her swishy washy untrustworthy ways.
Then just yesterday she has the gaul to disingenuously post about “Unity Day” celebration bringing students and faculty together to send a message of solidarity and standing up to bullying”
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How can she brazenly post this when she refused to publicly acknowledge and denounce the atrocious bullying that occurred for over 2 minutes to one of her youngest constituents, a 6 year old boy, in front of his mother. Please read the comments to her on this post they are quite telling! Here is my favorite “And how do you have the unmitigated gall to talk about “bullying prevention” when you refuse to publicly denounce your own supporters that accosted a library trustee candidate with the most vile racist and homophobic slurs minutes after you were photographed with them? It would #BeBest if Anna Kaplan was our Senator.’
What is going on here?
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I will never allow racial slurs and anti-LGBT rhetoric in my backyard. In fact I got this sign at a Keep the Families Rally this June when I met Anna Kaplan for the first time.
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These 2 Great Neck women who were the attackers, should be ashamed of themselves and now they are playing the victims all over social media? The way they conducted themselves is not only an embarrassment but reveals the true hatred and intolerance for others and the racism and homophobia they have in their hearts.
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Elaine Phillips as an elected official has it in her DUTY to vehemently call out hate speech in her district.
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Hate speech is un-American. Have they NO decency? I will be adding this cowardly act to a long list of other reasons why Elaine Phillips should not be reelected to NY State Senate.
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She does not accurately represent all her constituent’s views and therefore I hope others will join me in supporting and voting for Democrat Anna Kaplan who will be the flip vote in New York State and push New York forward to continuing to be the melting pot and welcoming state that it always has been.
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