African American city leaders remain silent in wake of calls for Trenton councilwoman to resign
By Glenn Townes
Last week, Trenton City West Ward councilwoman Robin Michele Vaughn went embarrassed and disgraced, and the community dropped the MF bomb at least twice in a phone call with Trenton Mayor Reed Gusicora. She called him a “pedophile” and made a homophobic slur to the openly gay city leader.” The secretly recorded phone call has gone viral and increased calls for the potty mouth and pitiful politico to resign. Despite a tepid apology from Vaughn on her Facebook page, she has said very little publicly about the debacle.
Once the story broke, I reached out to contacts in the city of Trenton to get their response to the brouhaha. I reached out to a former city councilwoman and two high-profile business and entrepreneurial leaders in the city for comment about the matter. To date, I have not received a response. The lack of an expeditious reply surprised me because these three people have been valuable contacts and sources for me for the past ten years. Previously, they immediately responded to my requests for assistance in writing an article regarding a current event in their beloved city of Trenton. However, I received nothing but a deafening silence from all three this time.
I am always a journalist; I did some additional snooping and digging and discovered that, despite Vaughn’s vile recent behavior, more than a few current and former leaders in the capital city are reluctant to condemn her actions. After all, she is still a councilwoman and wields much power and influence. For example, she could be the deciding vote if a minority-owned business enterprise lands a lucrative city contract. Or, she could dissuade someone from doing business in the city of Trenton, thus impacting somebody’s bottom line.
However, the most troubling thing I discovered is that some African American leaders in Trenton prefer not to criticize other leaders of color, especially in public. It’s what we used to call “A Black Thing.” You know, supporting and covering for your own, even when they do something blatantly wrong, offensive, and outrageous. The notion is to ignore it, remain woefully tacit, and hope it goes away. The recent reaction, or should I say non-reaction, to Vaughn’s disgraceful behavior is a clear example of this specious approach to things by some city leaders.
My kudos to New Jersey Senator Cory Booker for having the guts and, dare I say it, “the kahunas” to condemn Vaughn publicly and suggest she resign and step aside. Others need to learn from the senator. Speak up and speak loudly when a colleague, friend, or business associate does something so outrageous and humiliating and not just dismiss or ignore it as being a “Black thing!”
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By Glenn Townes