A city councilwoman in Georgia called her Vietnamese American colleague “un-American” for supporting a petition for multilingual ballots during a meeting last week, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
“I would like you to know that I feel as a citizen of this city and as a fellow councilmember that you do not deserve to sit on that dais as an elected official,” Councilwoman Dorothy Dean said to Councilwoman Van Tran.
“You have failed in your oath of office. You have failed as a citizen of this country,” she continued. “You disregarded and you dishonored the oaths that you took as an American citizen. I would like to say that is un-American and inexcusable. Shame on you, Van Tran.”
The petition in question asked for ballots in Spanish and Vietnamese to be provided in Morrow, a suburb of Atlanta. According to Census estimates, Morrow has a population of 6,400, of which about 40 percent are Black, 30 percent are Asian American and 20 percent are Latino.
While Dean didn’t question the citizenship status of the voters the petition would accommodate, she said it offended her “as a woman of color … who has had to march and stand in lines and protest to get the right to vote.”
Mayor John Lampl adjourned the meeting before Tran could respond, but she later told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Dean’s statements were “offensive.”
“There is nothing more patriotic and American than helping American citizens fulfill their duty to vote. I am providing access to voting for all American citizens,” she said. “It is offensive to call the many languages spoken by American citizens as foreign.”
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