The Salem-Keizer NAACP is calling on a candidate for the Salem-Keizer school board, Kari Zohner, to drop out of the race after she trashed the memory of George Floyd following the conviction of the police officer who murdered him, Derek Chauvin.
The NAACP issued its statement Wednesday night.
“We understand and support the First Amendment right to free speech. However, this hateful rhetoric is founded in racism and has no place in the auspices of the Salem-Keizer School board or any elected office. We must hold our leaders accountable and make clear that this behavior will not be tolerated in any form. The Candidate for School Board Zone 1 must rescind her candidacy immediately,” the statement said.
It was Zohner's comment on an Oregon State University Facebook post that got her in trouble.
UPDATE: Just got this screenshot of a Facebook comment from a former West Salem High School student who has some serious accusations about bad behavior from Zohner when she was a coach at the school. The student also asks Zohner to give up on running for the school board.
Zohner's lack of compassion and racial insensitivity should cause voters to cast their ballot for a much better Zone 1 candidate, Osvaldo Avila.
Here's Avila's background.
Osvaldo is the son of Mexican immigrant farmworkers who had few opportunities in life. His father had to drop out of school in the third grade. Growing up, teachers dismissed Osvaldo’s potential, and called him “a future ditch digger.”
Yet, he believed in his education, and ultimately earned a Master’s in Educational Leadership and Policy from PSU. He has had an 18-year career in Higher Education, focusing on helping Latinx students gain access to and succeed in college.
He is now a Talent, Innovation, & Equity Administrator with the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission. To learn more go to: https://www.osvaldo4skboard.com/.
By contrast, here's the full statement from the Salem-Keizer NAACP about Kari Zohner.
Salem-Keizer NAACP Condemns School Board Candidate Statement
Equating the Honoring of Justice for George Floyd to the Eulogizing of a Criminal
The Salem-Keizer NAACP condemns the recent remark made by School Board Candidate Kari Zohner that equated the memorializing of George Floyd, in the wake of the rare moment of justice in the conviction of his killer, to that of eulogizing a criminal. It is critical that we as a community make a clear and unambiguous statement denouncing these hateful remarks and call on this candidate to step down from the race for Salem-Keizer School Board.
In comments, since deleted, made on an Oregon State University Facebook post April 20, 2021, Candidate for School Board Zone 1, Kari Zohner, remarked “And now I’m no longer following you. My Alma Mater. Eulogize a criminal..great.” Candidate Zohner then proceeded to reply to individuals responding to her remarks by belittling them, such as a reply to an educator with the remark, “ah.. an educator. Shocking that you have such an eloquent stance.”
We understand and support the First Amendment right to free speech. However, this hateful rhetoric is founded in racism and has no place in the auspices of the Salem-Keizer School board or any elected office. We must hold our leaders accountable and make clear that this behavior will not be tolerated in any form. The Candidate for School Board Zone 1 must rescind her candidacy immediately.