By Mark Price, The Charlotte Observer
A black Charlotte City Council member who ignited a national backlash by questioning who was behind the the 9/11 terrorist attacks says she will not resign and is suggesting the criticism of her has had “racial overtones.”
Critics were outraged at an April 16 post on council member LaWana Mayfield’s Facebook page, in which she said the “conspiracy theorist” in her was still waiting for someone to produce pieces of the planes that slammed into the World Trade Center.
Mayfield sent an explanation of the post Wednesday to constituents in District 3, noting her questioning of the attacks at New York City’s World Trade Center was not meant as disrespect to the thousands who died in the attacks. A copy of her message found its way to Charlotte TV stations overnight and was posted on their web sites.
“I am in no way invalidating the impacts felt by many from 9/11 that caused the deaths of more than 3,000 people. I mourn, as an American, and wholly believe that were it not for the brave and heroic efforts of many, more lives would have been lost,” says the letter quoted by WCNC.com.
“While I do oppose limits on privacy and may have questions about certain actions taken by our government, I do not diminish the horrific events of that day,” said the letter posted by the station.
Mayfield says she will not resign and goes on to say in the letter that she sees daily how being black “is the only requirement to be continuously harassed, killed in the streets, discriminated against in public places and assaulted in America,” reported WCNC.
“Personally, I am TIRED as an American, I am Tired as a Black American…I did NOT say I would stop having my own opinions or stop being BLACK nor will I forget as James E Baldwin once said that ‘To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage,’ ” said the letter, as reported by TV station WSOC.
Mayfield says the critics who responded from around the nation to her post resorted to “name-calling, instant disenfranchisement and even some racial overtones of disgust,” reported WSOC.
“It seems far too often that we as African Americans or Black people are not to have an opinion and with that in mind, my sharing of the post was me sharing multiple questions I still (while wearing my conspiracy theory that which many of us wear but I am acknowledging) have regarding my safety after the trampling of The First Amendment,” reported SpectrumNews.com.
Mayfield came under fire Monday after her Facebook post questioned whether terrorists on planes were behind the attacks. She then linked to an article on the website Awarenessact.com that stated: “It’s Official: European Scientific Journal Concludes 9/11 Was A Controlled Demolition.”
Critics have noted her sharing of the much maligned conspiracy theory was “irresponsible,” “dangerous” and showed she was “unfit for office.” Others noted it was also a sign of disrespect to those who died that day in the attacks.
A petition launched on Change.org demanding her resignation has collected more than 700 signatures in the past day.
“By giving her imprimatur to this conspiracy theory, Mayfield has brought shame and disgrace upon herself, her district, her city, and her state,” says the Change.org petition. “It is simply not acceptable for an elected official to use his or her platform to promote such claptrap. Mayfield needs to spare herself, the people of Charlotte, and the people of North Carolina further embarrassment by resigning. “