On his Friday Aug 18 morning radio program “Ask the First Selectman” on WGCH 1490 Peter Tesei weighed in on the events in Charlottesville, VA last weekend, telling a caller, “I and other Republican officials in town stand united with people in Charlottesville and abhor and detest the behavior of white supremacists and Nazis.”
The caller said she’d read letters to the editor about the events in Charlottesville on Saturday, Aug 12, when Neo-Nazis and white supremacists rallied and had violent clashes with counter protesters. One protester Heather Heyer was killed when a car driven by a 20-year-old white supremacist plowed into a crowd.
“I wanted to ask you your feelings on Virginia because I’ve been reading letters to the editor, especially this morning, and a lot of Democrats are coming forward,” said the caller who identified herself as Dawn Fortunato, who is a member of the RTM in District 3. “We haven’t heard anything from the Republican side and how they feel.”
In addition to condemning white supremacists and Nazis, Tesei pointed out multiple efforts in Greenwich against racism and prejudice, including the recent Diversity Training for town hall, Board of Education and local non-profits leaders.
“We work with the ADL on matters including the Names Day program at the high school and we have a committee on community diversity,” Tesei said. “So I think we have a fairly sound and stellar view as to tolerance and inclusion and it’s unfortunate that some in the media have chosen to isolate and not be inclusive of Republicans’ points of view.”
Commenting on Sunday evening’s vigil organized by Indivisible Greenwich where speakers included Joanna Swomley and US Senator Richard Blumenthal, Tesei said he was not “directly invited.”
“I think we have a fairly sound and stellar view as to tolerance and inclusion and it’s unfortunate that some in the media have chosen to isolate and not be inclusive of Republicans’ points of view,” he said. “That particular event was done in a very makeshift way that did not include, directly include, Republicans to attend.”
Last Sunday at 6:00pm about 100 people gathered outside town hall.
Joanna Swomley, founder of Indivisible Greenwich and US Senator Blumenthal delivered remarks.
Senator Blumenthal said that for many who lived through the civil rights movement, the images of torches at night in Charlotesville brought back images many thought were a thing of the past. “Someone said that the only difference between the march yesterday and many demonstrations of the Ku Klux Klan was that they weren’t wearing hoods,” he said. “In the face of hatred and evil, silence is not gold. Ambiguity is abhorrent.”
“It’s over, in terms of what they did and how they did it,” Tesei said during his radio show on Friday, Aug 18, referring to the vigil organized by Indivisible Greenwich.
“But the seriousness of what transpired in Charlottesville remains, and we need to stand united against hatred, intolerance and bigotry, and again recognize Greenwich is a leader in opposing that kind of behavior,” Tesei continued.
The caller suggested Tesei write a letter to the editor or issue a public statement.
Tesei said he appreciated that suggestion, but, he said, “Consider the source, Ms. Swomley is now partisan because her husband is running for First Selectman. So, now there’s no longer that sense it’s a non partisan group. It’s taken on a partisan nature.”
“I appreciate your opportunity to help us get the point out,” Tesei said to Fortunato.
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