African American city leaders remain silent in wake of calls for Trenton councilwoman to resign

GlennTownes

By Glenn Townes

Glenn.townes@njurbannews.com

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

Glenn.townes@njurbannews.com
Last week, once respected Trenton City West Ward councilwoman Robin Michele Vaughn went ‘hood and embarrassed herself and disgraced her community by dropping the MF bomb at least twice and calling Mayor Reed Gusicora a “pedophile,” and making a homophobic slur to the openly gay city leader.” The secretly recorded phone call has gone viral and lead to increasing calls for the potty mouth politico and wannabe diva 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 immediately reached out to my contacts in and around the city of Trenton in order 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 really surprised me because these three people have been valuable contacts and sources for me for the past 10 years. In the past, they immediately responded to my requests for assistance in writing an article regarding a current event in their beloved city of Trenton. However, this time, I received nothing but a deafening silence from all three.
Always a journalist, I did some additional snooping and digging and discovered that, despite Vaughn’s vile and disgusting 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 a lot of 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 simply don’t want to publicly criticize other leaders of color. It’s what we used to call “A Black thing.” You know, supporting and covering for your own, even when they do something that is blatantly wrong, offensive and outrageous. Ignore it and remain woefully tacit, and hope that it goes away. The recent reaction or should I say non-reaction to Vaughn’s disgraceful behavior is clearly 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 publicly condemn Vaughn 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!”

Glenn Townes

I'm an award winning journalist based in Edison, NJ. My work has been featured in dozens of publications including, Black Enterprise magazine; ESSENCE magazine and Real Health magazine. I am also a featured...

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