Black New Jersey Mother Slams Racism at Local Board Meeting After Former Council Member Called Police on Nine-Year-Old Daughter Who Was Catching Lanternflies

Borough of Caldwell Council Meeting

An angry New Jersey mother fired off a heated speech on racism during a local board meeting last week after she says her Black daughter was racially profiled by a former council member, who freaked out simply because she was killing invasive insects.

Now, the family has demanded the town of Caldwell have a conversation about racial equity to ensure other children of color will feel safe when they step outside their homes.

“I am not here to label anyone, only to share my point of view as a Black woman, a Black mother, and a Black resident in this town,” Monique Joseph said as she stepped up to the dais during the public comments portion of a Caldwell Borough Council meeting on Nov. 1. “To bring awareness on racism and implicit bias that we experienced on the very street that we live on.”

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Joseph described how her neighbor, Gordon Lawshe, called the police on her 9-year-old daughter Bobbi Wilson on Oct. 22 while Bobbi was outside trying to kill spotted lanternflies. The insect is known to be a danger to trees and other plants—so much so that scientists have recommended a myriad of ways for the public to kill them.

Joseph said she received a recording of Lawshe’s 911 call from the Caldwell Police Department.

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SOURCE: The Daily Beast, Brooke Leigh Howard

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