(TRENTON) — Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer) issued a multimedia package Friday responding to what she termed as “clueless” comments by Governor Chris Christie on the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
During a news conference on Tuesday, as reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer, the governor commented that
“The fact of the matter is, I think people would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South.”
The multimedia package consists of a video of Watson Coleman refuting the governor’s statement and audio and a transcript of same.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of Assemblywoman Watson Coleman’s comments is appended below:
Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer), Assembly Education Committee Vice-Chair:
“Well, first of all, I thought that the Governor’s remarks were shockingly insensitive and actually callous. But to suggest that there was even that choice, that there was even a choice to consider these serious issues of human and civil rights on a referendum, versus a legislative way, is absolutely clueless as it relates to the history of the whole movement. We don’t have any indication that there’s been any civil rights righted by virtue of a referendum.
“Now think about it. He’s talking about the devastation, the disrespect, the abuse and misuse of people down in the South during the civil rights movement. Why would he think that such a referendum would have had anything but utter failure?
And what makes him think that no one else tried any other way before we had to take to the streets to march in – I might add – protests which were peaceful protests? The people who were marching, the protestors, did not turn that into violence. The people who were representing the governance are the ones that turned that into violence.
“And so, for the governor to even suggest that this would have been an alternative route is just his way of mouthing the kind of distractions that are coming even nationally from his party.
“He is speaking to the conservatives around the country. He’s not speaking to the issues of New Jersey.”