1st Ward city council candidate Alveria Spencer has been condemned by some of her fellow candidates and the city’s chapter of the NAACP for casually using the n-word at a public meeting.
“I found out about it this morning. If it’s true that’s appalling,” said Kenneth Clayton, president of the city’s chapter of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). “It definitely is not acceptable of a person who is running for public office, particularly in a public setting.”
Spencer used the word when speaking about police substations which serve as a deterrent in high crime neighborhoods. “The block is shut down and the niggas is not even out there,” she remarked at the forum in School 28 on Monday evening speaking about a substation on a Northside street.
James Staton, 1st Ward councilman, who hosted the forum, said he heard the word being used, but was not certain who used it. He cited the chaotic nature of the forum which had several speakers shouting questions at the candidates.
“I heard it said, but I didn’t hear her say it,” said Staton. “A lot of people were saying a lot of stuff.”
The councilman, who many have said supports Spencer’s candidacy for the council seat once held by disgraced councilman Anthony Davis, suggested it may have been taken out of context. When pressed further as to whether she should have used it regardless of context Staton said, “Of course it’s inappropriate for an official to use it. I wouldn’t use it.”
Waheedah Muhammad, a 1st Ward resident and former school board member, found Spencer’s use of the word so offensive that she left the venue on Monday. “I don’t know what made her think it’s okay,” she said.
Spencer was attempting to relate to the audience, but instead ended up offending them, said Bernard Jones, another candidate, who was present during the forum.
“It should have never come out of her mouth,” said Jones. He noted Spencer also used other swear words.
“I thought it was inappropriate,” said David Gilmore, who ran for mayor last year. He, like Muhammad, left the forum after the word was used.
“I completely condemn the use of that language and especially the use of that word,” said Manny Martinez, a candidate for the November 3rd, 2015 special election. “There is no place for it especially from a person trying to represent our community. We expect and demand better.”
Clayton further described Spencer’s action as “very sad” and “inexcusable.” He called on Spencer to apologize.
“She owes an apology for the way it was used,” said Clayton.
Spencer did not respond to a phone message seeking her comments for this story on Wednesday morning.