Juneteenth event for Dems only? ‘I am a Black Republican, and they did not consider me really Black’

A New Jersey councilman expressed his frustration with being “disrespected” at a Juneteenth event because of his political affiliation.

Summit Councilman Jamel Boyer was “disgusted” by the way he was treated at the city’s event marking the federal holiday, explaining to Fox News Digital that he was “deemed not black” by critics because he is a Republican.

As the city’s first black man elected to the city council since the founding of Summit in 1869, Boyer was invited to speak months before the event on June 19 which was declared a holiday by President Joe Biden in 2021. But the Juneteenth Planning Committee seemed to have a problem with Boyer’s planned appearance.

“I think me being a Republican and the first [black] councilman of Summit is not what certain groups of people in Summit wanted to see. I think that it really drives them absolutely crazy,” he told Fox News Digital.

“So, the week of the event, I’m getting all these phone calls from the council president and other council persons saying, ‘Hey, did you plan on speaking?’ Of course. ‘Well, they don’t want you to speak’. Well, who doesn’t want it? ‘Well, the planning committee and the planning committee consist of members from the Interfaith Council and Anti-Racism Committee,’” Boyer recounted.

(Video Credit: Fox News Digital)

“I mean, I grew up in this town. Of course, I represent the Black people in this town. I don’t understand what you’re saying, by the way, some of the people that didn’t want me to speak. They’re not from this town. So they don’t know. They didn’t go to school here. I went to elementary school here, middle school, high school. My wife’s family has been here for 100 years,” Boyer said.

“I don’t understand what you’re talking about. It could only be because of what I represent, and I represent a different thought,” he added.

Boyer blasted critics during the city’s June 24th Summit Common Council Meeting.

“This was a momentous occasion and I believe it is important to address the community at this event. However, I feel it crucial to inform all the residents about some troubling events that occurred leading up to the event,” he said during public comment at the meeting.

City council members and city employees expressed to him that the “Interfaith Council” and the “Anti-Racism Committee” had informed them they did not want Boyer to speak, he revealed.

“Their reason was … I am a Black Republican, and they did not consider me really Black,” Boyer said at the meeting, reportedly eliciting laughs from attendees of the council meeting.

(Video Credit: City of Summit)

“They disagreed with my policy views so simply because I am a Black man with different opinions and political beliefs,” he continued. “Yes, I was deemed not Black by a politically motivated group, most of which, who do not reside in this town.”

“A group of people saying the reason is they don’t consider me as [sic] Black. That is disgusting. It is outright disrespectful,” he told council members. “We cannot be hypocrites. If Black people are truly free, we can have different opinions without being called ‘not Black.'”

Rev. Vernon Williams, a member of the Juneteenth Planning Committee, called Boyer’s comments a “flat-out lie.”

“Councilman Boyer wishes to believe the reason he was not chosen was because he is not ‘Black enough’ or that he is a Black Republican. No one has ever said that to him or anyone on the Council about him. That comment from Councilman Boyer is purely sensational and a flat-out lie,” Williams, a member of the Interfaith Council and its Anti-Racism Committee, told TAPinto Summit.

“At no time before June 18th, does anyone on the committee ever remember Councilman Boyer being brought up as a speaker during the event. Additionally, no one on the committee ever spoke to Councilman Boyer about speaking,” he added.

The Summit Interfaith Council sought to clarify that they had been “mistakenly” named by Boyer as participants in the Juneteenth Planning Committee: “To be clear, no vote or discussion occurred since we did not sponsor the event or join the Planning Committee.”

Council President Lisa Allen expressed at the meeting that Boyer “should have been encouraged to speak, not discouraged.”

“Please know that going forward we will make certain that any celebration the City of Summit organizes will transcend politics, and prioritize inclusion for everyone,” Allen reportedly said.

Meanwhile, Summit’s Republican Mayor Elizabeth Fagan praised Boyer’s “bravery.”

“I am very impressed with Councilman Jamel Boyer’s bravery last night as he spoke not only about his own personal hurt but also the fact that our whole community loses when politics supersede integrity and common sense,” she said.

“Clearly, I am not alone in my thoughts, as the entire chamber burst into a standing ovation when Mr. Boyer finished speaking. I firmly believe the Juneteenth Committee missed a wonderful opportunity to highlight Summit’s first-ever elected Black-American male councilmember at Friday evening’s celebration,” Fagan added.

Frieda Powers

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