Southfield city council president denied speaking opportunity

Councilwoman_Sylvia_JordanOn Friday, August 28, 2015, the Young Oakland County Democrat Club hosted a picnic at the Beech Wood’s Park located in the city of Southfield. This event was held to get young democrats energized and involved in the political process as well as upcoming elections. There were around 50-60 individuals in attendance.
Various Democratic candidates who are running in the upcoming 2016 election had the opportunity to address the audience. For instance current United States Congresswoman, Brenda Lawrence had the opportunity to address those in attendance, as well as representatives for the Hillary Clinton and the Bernie Sander’s campaigns. Southfield City Council President, Sylvia Jordan who is running for mayor of the city of Southfield was not allowed to address the audience; while Ken Siver, former Southfield City Councilman, also running for mayor of the city of Southfield was allowed to speak.
Sam Pernick, President of the Young Oakland Democratic Club denied Jordan the right to address the audience. According to Sylvia Jordan she was told by Pernick that there were two basic reasons they denied her to speak. One in 2002 Jordan ran for the mayor of the city of Southfield as a republican and two the club is giving their public endorsement to her opponent Ken Siver.
According to Pernick he now believes that not allowing Jordan to speak was a mistake. He stated, “I thought Jordan was still a part of the Republican Party.” He also expressed that he had never met Jordan and didn’t know that she would be attending the event. Pernick aIso stated that he contacted Jordan to apologize and invite her to speak at the next Oakland County Young Democrat meeting.
According to William Lattimore, former Southfield City Councilman “it is absurd and unnecessary to be ostracized because of your former involvement with another party. Some of our great Democrats are former Republicans. It seems to be a deeper issue. There are basic principles that we follow as Democrats, and these type of tactics should not be used.”
According to Harrison Shelby, political director of the Young Democrats at Henry Ford College, Pernick introduced Ken Siver as “his candidate of choice for mayor of Southfield.” Shelby also witnessed Jordan asking Pernick when it would be her time to speak. He felt that Jordan was basically dismissed by Pernick, which was noticeable to many Jordan supporters in the crowd. Shelby described this as extremely distasteful. Shortly after that Jordan and many of her supporters decided to leave the picnic.
Marilyn Alvis, former Democratic canvasser for Michigan For All under the National Democratic Party attended the event because of her friendship with Pernick on Facebook. She also witnessed Pernick denying Jordan the opportunity to address the audience. She described it as “Jordan being disregarded and called ‘it a slap in the face’.” Alvis had never met Jordan but sympathized with her with this incident. She also decided to leave once Jordan left.
According to Ken Siver, he was only invited to give a Southfield welcome at the event. He didn’t speak about his campaign; he only spoke about the excitement of getting young people involved for the 2016 elections.
As Democrats we are supposed to stand together. I’m not implying that this incident was racially motivated but Sylvia Jordan is a woman of color in a political race against a Caucasian man and by all accounts she was treated unfairly. I am certain that Mr. Pernick’s apology and contrition’s were sincere however his inability to recognize the ramifications of his actions at the time is hurtful to the Democratic Party and to the democratic process. It is hard to believe that on the day our country celebrated the 52nd anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s March on Washington that such unfair treatment could occur.

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