The following is a joint statement from Just Resisting, Queers for Racial Justice, and Showing Up for Racial Justice:
By the end of this week, it will be 100 days since the Buffalo School Board majority voted to remove Carl Paladino after his racist, transphobic, and violent comments were published in Artvoice. Although startling, those comments are congruent with Paladino’s documented history of bigotry. Since then, he has continued to defend his racist remarks and even headlined a local rally this weekend during which he was embraced by white supremacists who flew the Confederate flag and carried Nazi-inspired signs.
It was reported earlier this week by several local news sources that Paladino now intends to sue the Buffalo Board of Education and two other groups that have formally asked for his removal from the board. As reported, Paladino’s attorney, former state Attorney General Dennis Vacco, alleges that board members have been participating in “an illegal conspiracy to infringe on his client’s right to freedom of speech.”
It is easier for Carl Paladino to believe that the School Board is part of a conspiracy against him than it is for him to think that his actions over an extended period of time deserve correction. His words and actions have galvanized members of the community, many of whom have been the target of his vitriol.
It is clear that his lawsuit is a feeble attempt to distract from the real issue at hand: the time has come for him to face the consequences of not just his recent words and actions, but an accumulation over years that have repeatedly demonstrated his unsuitability to represent anyone, let alone the diverse student body of Buffalo Public Schools.
As Trump’s surrogate in Buffalo, he hasn’t even had to come up with his own strategy. His lawsuit is a move right out of the Trump playbook, with all of its outrageous trappings and unfounded accusations. He can claim conspiracy all he wants but it doesn’t change the fact that numerous independent parties believe him unfit for public office. The list is too long to go through here, but includes: Oust Paladino, which brought 100 African-American women to lead a protest in Niagara Square; Just Resisting, Queers for Racial Justice, and Showing Up for Racial Justice, which have repeatedly shut down portions of the School Board meetings in protest; and the Can Carl Coalition which has been working for years to expose Paladino’s racism and also his conflicts of interest.
It’s been a hundred days too long, and we remain resolute in our call for Commissioner Elia to remove Carl Paladino from the Board of Education. And we won’t stop until he is removed. As a city resident said during the public comment period of a recent Board of Education meeting, who compared Commissioner Elia’s role to that of the state marshalls in Alabama who stood at the school door to enforce de-segregation, “We need you to be that state marshall.”
Just Resisting is a collective of organizers and artists who identify as Black, People of Color (POC) who believe in and work towards transformative social justice.
The Buffalo chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice is a group that organizes white people for racial justice.
Queers for Racial Justice is a group dedicated to an intersectional movement grounded in the belief that everyone should be able to live out their truth without fear of retaliation, and that we each hold diverse identities.