The following was submitted as a letter to the editor to What’sUpNewp by Holly S. Fisher. The views and opinions expressed within are not necessarily those of What’sUpNewp, its contributors, or of its advertisers.
To the Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee,
We hope you are aware of the openly racist and inherently offensive comments posted publicly by Tony Lepore, aka “The RI Dancing Cop” whom you’ve invited to participate in the 2018 Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade, upcoming on Saturday, March 17th. Mr. Lepore has gained local and national attention for his controversial, combative and racist public statements; his actions do not represent the values of the Newport community.
Just three examples from many:
Here is the exact language he posted on his Twitter account referring to immigrants: “They are not of our culture. They have several wives they rape without repercussions.” He calls “Dreamers” bums and drug dealers.
He organized a boycott and tried to get a young African American employee fired from Dunkin Donuts for writing “Black Lives Matter” on a coffee cup. He says Black Lives Matter is a hate group.
Lepore said, “Why don’t you go into the ghetto and help those people,” on the John DePetro show on WPRO. “They are killing each other.”
Other municipalities, including South Kingstown, Providence and East Providence, have decided not to employ Mr. Lepore. There is also an ongoing initiative to exclude him from events in Pawtucket, Exeter, Lincoln, North Providence, Warwick, Cranston and several Massachusetts locations. We want Newport, too, to stand for community unity and against racial injustice. Mr. Lepore’s participation in the parade normalizes xenophobia and racism. He does not represent the values of our community, and we doubt he represents your values.
We have collected a list of signatures and comments on change.org from over 220 community members expressing their opposition to Mr. Lepore’s inclusion in the parade. We hope you agree with us that it is not appropriate for a person with Mr. Lepore’s history and reputation to participate in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. We don’t want him performing in Newport and we hope you see fit to take action and UNinvite him. Let’s make our City’s events inclusive of all community members.
Holly S. Fisher
Editor’s Note – The petition and links to samples that were mentioned, can be seen here – https://www.change.org/p/newport-st-patrick-s-day-parade-committee-newport-is-no-place-for-tony-lepore-the-dancing-cop-s-racism