Porfirio urges “full investigation” into reported racist rant of local official
Mike Porfirio, the Democratic Candidate for the Illinois 11th Senate District, urged the City of Berwyn Wednesday to conduct a “full and transparent investigation” into accusations a city employee and school board member used offensive and racist terms during a confrontation with an African American contractor.
Berwyn employee and school board member Sarah Lopez reportedly confronted Berwyn contractor, Phillip Robbin, who was removing a tree because he was blocking the alley.
Driving a Berwyn City Vehicle, Lopez reportedly used the “N-word” repeatedly in her attempts to get Robbin to move his truck, according to new media reports.
Porfirio said the Illinois Human Rights Commission should also look into this incident.
“I strongly condemn all forms of racism and discrimination and believe everyone should be treated equally, fairly, and respectfully. Furthermore, I believe those serving the public should be held to an even higher standard and always conduct themselves professionally,” Porfirio said.
“I denounce the words and actions as described in media reports. It is inexcusable to use such foul and disgusting language. There is no room for racism, racist action, or racist words in today’s world and we have to work to stop it in all forms until it is completely eliminated.”
Porfirio said the City of Berwyn should investigate the incident immediately to restore public confidence.
“The incident in Berwyn should be carefully investigated to determine the facts from the initial incident to the City’s response or lack thereof. I am only familiar with reports that have been published in the news media and on social media but would urge a full investigation so that the whole City Board can best decide corrective and disciplinary actions and the severity of the punishment up to and including termination,” Porfirio said.
“A full investigation should also help highlight how to best compensate the individual affected by the incident.”
Porfirio said that the longer this incident continues without a formal resolution, the more damage it does to everyone, especially to the victim of the hate-filled words and also to the community as a whole.
“An open and transparent investigation is key to repairing that,” he said, repeating his recommendation to involve the Illinois Human Rights Commission.
“I am relieved to learn that the employee has resigned her role as a School Board member in the community,” Porfirio said.
“I also urge that the School Board treat the upcoming vacancy to fill the seat with a community ally who believes in diversity, equity, and inclusion and will be a good role model.”
Lopez reportedly resigned from the school board after the report was aired by a Chicago TV news station.
For more information visit www.PorfirioforSenate.com