(Norwalk, CT) – Today, Wednesday, January 17, 2024, Mayor Rilling, the Norwalk Common Council and DEI Officer LaToya Fernandez released the following statements following yesterday evening's public comment portion of the Common Council Ordinance Committee meeting when several unknown individuals made anti-Semitic and racist statements via Zoom.
"I unequivocally condemn these ignorant, racist individuals for their anti-Semitic, racist statements made during last night's Ordinance Committee meeting," said Mayor Rilling. "These individuals are bigots, and such statements are incredibly gross, obscene and hateful and demonstrate the exact opposite of what the City of Norwalk stands for. We are a community that values diversity among race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality and more. Our Norwalk Police Department Detective Bureau has initiated an investigation into the comments made last night. Our Law and IT Departments are actively developing new protocols to help ensure an occurrence like this one never happens again in our community."
"During the public comment portion of last night's Ordinance Committee meeting, several individuals made statements that were unquestionably anti-Semitic and racist," said Darlene Young, Common Council President. "While it brings us some comfort that these individuals were likely not Norwalkers, unfortunately, we are seeing a national trend among this type of vitriol. The Norwalk Common Council unequivocally condemns any and all acts of hatred. Hatred has no place in Norwalk and runs directly counter to the values we hold most dear. We constantly aspire to be a diverse and welcoming city to people of all faiths, races, and nationalities."
“I am disappointed to hear that hateful language was used to harm and disrupt our community,” said LaToya Fernandez, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for the City of Norwalk. “We are committed to fostering a sense of belonging for all. As the DEI Officer for the City, I will continue to provide safe spaces of support for those impacted by these offenses and ensure that we continue to engage in professional learning opportunities that promote inclusion.”
The Norwalk Police Department Detective Bureau has initiated an investigation into last night’s statements and are working in collaboration with the Prosecutor's office at G.A 1 Stamford to determine if such comments were criminal and motivated by hate or bias. If so, they will pursue criminal charges against the parties responsible.