Commissioner says she's right with history in her comments about - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Commissioner says she's right with history in her comments about race

Posted: Updated:
During a joint press conference on Thursday NAACP President and Pastor Keith Norman and Latino Memphis Executive Director Mauricio Calvo addressed questions about Brooks' comments at a recent meeting. During a joint press conference on Thursday NAACP President and Pastor Keith Norman and Latino Memphis Executive Director Mauricio Calvo addressed questions about Brooks' comments at a recent meeting.
Shelby County Commissioner Henri Brooks says she's right with history in her comments about race and claims the backlash against her is overblown. Shelby County Commissioner Henri Brooks says she's right with history in her comments about race and claims the backlash against her is overblown.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - Shelby County Commissioner Henri Brooks says she's right with history in her comments about race and claims the backlash against her is overblown.

While Brooks stands by her comments, the Memphis Chapter of the NAACP and Latino Memphis refused to pick sides. Instead they want a conversation about poverty and equal opportunities for all people in Shelby County.

During a joint press conference on Thursday NAACP President and Pastor Keith Norman and Latino Memphis Executive Director Mauricio Calvo addressed questions about Brooks' comments at a recent meeting.

"How politicians use rhetoric and for what purpose they use that particular rhetoric is not why we are here today," said Norman.

"At some point even when you become aware of comments that people make, you need to move to the higher level."

Norman said he hasn't watched the entire exchange in which Brooks told a Hispanic man his struggles being a minority in the Mid-South don't compare to hers.

Brooks was caught on camera saying, "You asked to come here. You asked to come here; we did not. And when we got here, our condition was so egregious, so barbaric … don't ever let that come out of your mouth again ‘cause you know what? That only hurts your case. Don't compare the two; they're not comparable."

"You don't fight hate with hate, you take moments like these to educate, to inform, and to raise the level of conversation," said Norman.

Calvo says there is no place for bigotry and intolerance but chose not to condemn Brooks.

"I don't know her well enough to know where she came from. There's an upcoming election here that voters are paying attention to, how that particular candidate and all candidates are answering to these things," he said.

Thursday afternoon Brooks posted the following message on her Shelby County Juvenile Court Clerk Facebook Campaign page:

Regarding my exchange with Mr. Pablo Pereyra during a County Commission meeting, I stand by my comments, which are historically correct. What I believe might have been misunderstood in that exchange is that the treatment of racial and ethnic minorities in this country should not be played-off against or compared to each other, as I believe Mr. Pereyra was attempting to do.

Lost in the over-blown media reaction is the public policy implications of awarding a contract to a company that has ties to a company whose license has been revoked by the State of Nevada for at least 740 instances of real estate fraud, under different aliases and different company names. This is a company known for its discriminatory hiring practices, and is a company seeking Shelby County taxpayer-funded dollars. It would be an irresponsible public policy decision on my part to award a contract to such a company, no matter who is "sponsoring" or "representing" that company.

"How she addresses this issue is gonna speak volumes of her character and professionalism. I cannot tell her what to do. But I am waiting to see what she does and that's gonna tell who she really is," said Calvo.

This whole thing started over a county contract proposal Brooks said she did not support because she claimed the company hired mostly Hispanics.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said Brooks' comments were inconsistent with the way he does things. His wife is Brooks' campaign manager.

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.   

Powered by WorldNow