CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After several days of non-response, Mecklenburg County Commissioner Vilma Leake, who attended two events with hate group leader Louis Farrakhan last week, has declined to condemn the leader’s comments about Jews and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Leake joins her colleague, Commission Chairman Harold Cogdell, and Charlotte City Councilmember LaWana Mayfield in refusing to condemn the comments.

Leake told qnotes Monday morning that she attended the Farrakhan events, one at which she sat on stage behind him, “as an individual, and not on behalf of Mecklenburg County.” It is her responsibility to “be knowledgeable and informed on any and all outstanding personalities who live or come to visit this community,” she said.

“As to Mr. Farrakhan belief’s, I have no control over his freedom through the First Amendment which gives him the right to express himself,” Leake continued. “I am a member of Little Rock AME Zion Church. My responsibility is not to encourage or entice citizens to join any group or body of believers, whatever their belief system might be. I do respect and support wholeheartedly the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”

Farrakhan has been named a hate leader by the Southern Poverty Law Center. His organization, Nation of Islam, has been named a hate group. Both have a history of extremist anti-Semitic and anti-LGBT statements and beliefs.

Other local elected officials have already gone on record condemning hate, including Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, County Commissioner Jennifer Roberts and City Councilmembers John Autry, Claire Fallon and Beth Pickering.

Cogdell, meanwhile, has said he had “no regrets” after attending a Farrakhan event. Mayfield has had several opportunities to condemn the hate speech and has repeatedly refused.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

2 replies on “Leake declines to condemn Farrakhan’s hate speech”

  1. Very good Ms. Leake, I commend your courage in your position. Not only should you not have to justify your attending the wonderful event on Sunday, why would you be asked to to disassociate yourself from The Honorable Minister Farrakhan. Some elected officials and Politicans are such hypocrites; why not address pressing issues such as police mishandling citizens, homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Co., unemployment, and other senseless crimes versus attacking A Spiritual Man who has committed NO criminal activity in the world. One does not have to agree with Minister Farrakhan, or his beliefs, but it is a coward, and unfortunately one who is in leadership in your city that follows comdenation without self examination of the accused. We need more Leaders, Elected Officials who are willing to examine the least popular persons, events, publications because in those may be awaiting the solution to your problem.

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