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At an informal
gathering to celebrate the last meeting of the year in December, Pawtucket City
Council member Mark Wildenhain, 2nd District, threw two one-dollar
bills in the face of fellow City Council member Elena Vasquez, telling her to “take
a bus back to Colombia” in front of several elected dignitaries and their
Vasquez, who is
Guatemalan, wrote a letter to the Council and Wildenhain issued a statement
saying he had stepped over a line and that he had called Elena the next morning
and left a voicemail apologizing for his action, and then followed up with two
emails which were copied to the full council.
The Council is
considering sensitivity training in 2020.
The proposed Resolution
is printed here:
City of Pawtucket
RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL
WHEREAS, it is
readily agreed that the greatness of the City of Pawtucket lies in the diversity
of our residents and businesses; and
WHEREAS, in the United States Census completed in the year 2010, it was reflected that 24.24% of our City’s population proudly identifies as Hispanic or Latino, and 16.16% of our City’s population proudly identifies as Black or African-American; and
WHEREAS, in the United States Census completed in the year 2010, it was reflected that 52.58% of our City’s population proudly identifies as women, including 10 elected officials from our City’s Council, School Committee and representatives in the General Assembly; and
WHEREAS, on December 16, 2019, at Arigna Irish Pub & Coal Fire Kitchen, located 507 Armistice Boulevard, Councilor Mark J. Wildenhain of the 2nd Councilmanic District, threw two $1 bills in the face of an esteemed colleague and told her to “take a bus back to Colombia” in front of several elected dignitaries and their guests; and
WHEREAS, this reprehensible behavior should be considered xenophobic, misogynistic, and racist; and
WHEREAS, the City of Pawtucket is proud to recognize those diverse groups whose contributions have made our city and our nation a better place in which to live and work.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE
IT RESOLVED, THAT THE PAWTUCKET CITY
COUNCIL, AT THE
REQUEST OF COUNCILOR ELENA VASQUEZ, DOES
CONDEMN COUNCILOR MARK J. WILDENHAIN’S
THAT HAVE VOCALIZED BIGOTRY, AGGRESSION
AND HATRED OF
WOMEN AND PEOPLE OF COLOR BY SAYING THAT
AMERICANS WHO ARE IMMIGRANTS, DESCENDANTS OF
THOSE WHO MAY LOOK TO THE COUNCILOR LIKE
“GO BACK” TO OTHER COUNTRIES, BY
CULTURALLY DIVERSE RESIDENTS AND BY SAYING
THAT RESIDENTS OF
PAWTUCKET WHO ARE IMMIGRANTS (OR THOSE
OF OUR COLLEAGUES
WHO ARE WRONGLY ASSUMED TO BE
IMMIGRANTS) DO NOT
BELONG IN THE PAWTUCKET CITY COUNCIL,
CITY OF PAWTUCKET,
OR IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
IN THE CITY OF PAWTUCKET.
Photo: Left to Right: Elena Vasquez; Michael Araujo; Albert Vitali; Terrence Mercer; David Moran; John Barry; Timothy Rudd; Meghan Kallman; Mark Wildenhain (Photo: February 2019, City of Pawtucket website)