HomeAsian AmericansPalisades Park Council Denounces Racism after Anti-Korean Facebook Posts

Palisades Park Council Denounces Racism after Anti-Korean Facebook Posts

Councilman Christopher Chung. From YouTube account ‘Mayor James Rotundo

The Palisades Park Borough Council approved a resolution rejecting racism on Tuesday, in response to two recent Facebook posts targeting Koreans running for borough office positions, reports NorthJersey.com.

Mayor James Rotundo and Councilman Christopher Chung wrote the resolution; Rotundo’s mother was responsible for one of the racist posts, claiming that Koreans were illegally voting and ruining her son’s chances of being reelected mayor.

“Go to hell PALISADES PARK, let the GD KOREANS have this F’n town,” Lorraine Rotundo wrote in a Facebook post in June. “All of us AMERICANS are so done. I am going to suggest that only English be spoken in our Boro Hall at least while an AMERICAN is still the mayor.”

The post was made during the recount for the primary election, which ended up putting Christopher Chung on the ballot for mayor in November. Anti-bigotry protests have been held in the borough since.

“We need to come out and make a statement on the current climate in Palisades Park since the election,” Rotundo said. “It’s been reported that there are feelings of resentment or racism being mentioned out there. I understand the feeling people have when it’s mentioned.”

“The mayor and council profoundly acknowledges and condemns all racially motivated, discriminatory, or exclusionary hate speech, and deeply regrets the pain or suffering such statements have caused any person,” the resolution states.

In the second incident, Anthony Sambogna, an independent candidate for mayor, accused Chung of making the election about “Korean power” in a Facebook post.

“This is not the year to vote for any Korean candidate,” wrote Sambogna. “None of them have the vision or knowledge to be serving on our town council.”

Sambogna has tried to defend himself by saying his comments weren’t about race, telling the public at Tuesday’s meeting that he hopes to revitalize the business district, which is Korean dominated. “It’s most disturbing to me that two Korean Americans sat idly by on the council doing nothing while the business community is failing,” said Sambogna.

“We must stand up and speak out, regardless of how subtle or overt it is,” said Chung. “It’s not someone else’s problem. It’s our problem. We all have work to do, and for every single person it begins with doing something.”

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