043033 UC Ingalls Mental Health Awareness Month Ad Reoirter

Trustee Brannigan says ‘I am sorry’

 


Photo by Anthony Caciopo

Sharon Brannigan of the Palos Township Board of Trustees listens to public testimony at the board’s Sept. 11 meeting.

 

“I am not anti-Arab. I am not anti-Muslim. I am not anti-immigrant. I apologize to anyone who felt offense at my words”

Embattled Palos Township Trustee Sharon Brannigan has broken a long public silence regarding controversy that has embroiled her for months regarding social media postings she made that many consider offensive to Muslims and other people of Middle Eastern heritage.

“I want to issue a clarification of my statement to Arabs, Muslims and people from the Middle East of our community who took offense to comments I posted on my Facebook Page,” she said this week in a statement.

“Although my comments were not intended as being anti-Arab or anti-Muslim, I acknowledge that some residents felt they were and for that I am sorry. After deep reflection, I can honestly say that my words were poorly crafted and my feelings were inadequately expressed. Racism and discrimination is not my intent and is not in my heart,” Brannigan’s statement continued.

“I apologize to anyone who felt offense from my words. I failed to properly express myself.”

Response to Brannigan’s statement was swift from the ad-hoc coalition leading the call, and exerting the pressure, for her resignation or removal from the township board.

“Palos Township Arabs and Muslims remain firm in (their) demand for Brannigan’s resignation,” said Bassem Kawar, advocacy specialist for The Campaign To TAKE ON HATE as part of his own organization’s statement.

The community coalition insists that her apology is “too little, too late.”

“We asked for this apology months ago when it became clear that Brannigan had written racist social media posts attacking the township’s Arabs and Muslims, as well as its Middle East [sic] students,” said Kawar. “She refused back then to apologize, and is only doing this now to try to salvage her political career.  We won’t accept it.”

Brannigan’s postings that have sparked the controversy include now-deleted messages in which she questioned the intentions of Middle Easterners entering the U.S., questioned the documentation status of children entering local schools, and compared First Lady Melania Trump with Muslim women who wear headscarves.

“WE AMERICAN WOMEN ARE REPRESENTED WITH DIGNITY,” she posted in upper-case letters, referring to a visit in May by the Trumps to the Middle East.

Beginning July 10, more than 100 protestors packed Palos Township headquarters, as they would for two more monthly meetings. They also held rallies in the parking lot at 10802 S. Roberts Road. Palos Hills.

The seating capacity of the meeting room is 42 and the crowd on July 10 could not be accommodated, resulting in many of those present being forced to wait in a vestibule or outside the building. The overflow situation prompted concern of fire code violation and possible violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

At that meeting, Brannigan read from a prepared statement which included a partial quote of the First Amendment, her insistence that the comments she made fell under her First Amendment rights, and “My published words on this platform (Facebook) regarding the taxes are for the sole purpose of bringing awareness to the property taxpayers occurring within our township.”

The August meeting, on the 14th of the month, was held at the same location and a similar-sized crowd arrived. Moments before the scheduled start of the meeting, it was cancelled by Township Supervisor Colleen Schumann, citing the lack of accommodation.

This month’s meeting was held on the 11th, also at the same location. At that meeting, a public-address loudspeaker was installed to enable people outside the room to hear the proceedings.

Talk has occasionally surfaced about the potential viability of a mea culpa from Brannigan.

“She needs to immediately start working toward some sort of apology,” said Oliver Kolb, who attended the July 10 meeting.

“It’s what’s right. I do believe she should probably step down, but regardless, an apology is always a first step,” he said.

In this week’s response to Brannigan from The Campaign To TAKE ON HATE, organizers said “Even though Brannigan’s apology letter states that she believes the ‘issues have been distorted’, the coalition remains firm in continuing to call for her resignation as trustee.

 “She also states that she is ‘willing to meet with any Arabs or Muslims in Palos Township’ but she had every opportunity to extend her hand after the statements were discovered, and never did,” said Kawar in the statement.

“In fact, she did the opposite, insisting that she had every right to say whatever she wants. This apology now is insincere and clearly an example of political expediency, and the coalition rejects it.” 

The ad-hoc coalition leading the effort to force Brannigan to resign includes the aforementioned Campaign To TAKE ON HATE, National Network for Arab American Communities, Arab American Action Network, Arab American Family Services, Arab American Democratic Club, AMVOTE PAC, Kiswani Law, P.C., Law Offices of Reem Odeh and individual community residents and activists, according to the coalition’s organizers.

The protestors say they will be present at the next township meeting Oct. 6.

Local News

Orland Township Supervisor Paul O’Grady talks with a recruiter at last fall’s job fair. (File photo)

Orland Township to host summer job fair June 7

From staff reports Orland Township will host its Summer Job Fair on Tuesday, June 7, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Orland Township Activity Center, 14807 S. Ravinia Avenue, Orland Park. The fair is open to all members of the public, and attendance is highly encouraged. Nearly 30 companies will be attending, representing…

John Kosmowski

Feds indict Summit police chief, building inspector

Indictment says they shared a bribe over liquor license for the Mars Bar A federal grand jury this week indicted Summit Police Chief John Kosmowski and building inspector Bill Mundy with sharing a bribe from a business owner in 2017 to facilitate the transfer of a liquor license for the Mars Bar. The indictment returned…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound May 25, 2022

regional orland memorial day 2022 preview

Orland Park to add 7 names during Memorial Day ceremony

The Orland Park community is invited to join the village this Memorial Day in remembrance of those who have given their lives for our country. The ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, May 30, at the village’s memorial, Ara Pace – Place of Peace, located outside of Village Hall at 14700 S.…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Girls Soccer: De La Salle tops Bremen for program’s first regional title

By Steve Millar Correspondent De La Salle coach Carlos Nunez has seen his teams come up a bit short in the postseason repeatedly over the years. The Meteors had never won a regional championship in girls soccer. Until this year, that is. “I’ve been in every single one that we’ve lost in,” Nunez said. “We’ve…

Mallory Pugh, middle, moves the ball during the preseason. She played her first NWSL game Sunday and had two goals and an assist. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pro soccer report: Pugh tallies twice return in Red Stars’ win over Orlando

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Mallory Pugh gave a sample of what could be a big 2022 season when she scored four goals in the exhibition Challenge Cup series. But the Red Stars scoring threat missed the first two games of the NWSL season with an injury, and the team split decisions against Louisville and…

Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 8.23.03 AM

New ward map OKed

Reflects Madigan’s power By Tim Hadac The City Council this week approved a new ward map that, among other things, will see all of Clearing and most of Garfield Ridge shifted to the 13th Ward. Midway International Airport also would shift from the 23rd Ward to the 13th. Monday’s 43-7 vote means the issue will…

Sandburg's Jeremy Johnson, the hero of a semifinal win over Homewood-Flossmoor, legs out a hit in a 6-3 loss to Lockport on Saturday at Ozinga Field. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Sports Roundup: Sandburg takes 2nd at Bajenski tourney

By Jeff Vorva Staff writer The Sandburg baseball team has had more downs than ups this season. But the Eagles finished the regular season on a strong note with a run to second place at the Steven M. Bajenski Memorial Tournament, which wrapped up May 21 at Ozinga Field in Crestwood. To get to the…

Sandburg's 3200 meter relay team of (left to right) Sean Marquardt Declan Tunney, Trent Anderson and Brock Rice ran the third-best time in the nation Thursday at Lockport and finished in second place. Photo courtesy of Sandburg High School.

Track Postseason Report: Sandburg boys 3200 relay records nation’s third-best time in 2022

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer How good was the competition in the boys track Class 3A Lockport Sectional in the 3200 meter relay? Sandburg’s relay team of Brock Rice, Declan Tunney, Trent Anderson and Sean Marquardt ran a time of 7:42.42, which tied for the third-best time in the nation in 2022. And that was…

biz pop's beef logo

Pop’s to celebrate National Italian Beef Day with week of specials

Palos Heights-based Pop’s Italian Beef & Sausage is beefing up May this year with a week-long celebration of National Italian Beef Day at each of their locations. As part of the celebrations, Pop’s is hosting an interactive contest on their Facebook page during the week of National Italian Beef Day from Monday, May 23, through…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
Orland Township Supervisor Paul O’Grady talks with a recruiter at last fall’s job fair. (File photo)

Orland Township to host summer job fair June 7

From staff reports Orland Township will host its Summer Job Fair on Tuesday, June 7, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Orland Township Activity Center, 14807 S. Ravinia Avenue, Orland Park. The fair is open to all members of the public, and attendance is highly encouraged. Nearly 30 companies will be attending, representing…

John Kosmowski

Feds indict Summit police chief, building inspector

Indictment says they shared a bribe over liquor license for the Mars Bar A federal grand jury this week indicted Summit Police Chief John Kosmowski and building inspector Bill Mundy with sharing a bribe from a business owner in 2017 to facilitate the transfer of a liquor license for the Mars Bar. The indictment returned…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound May 25, 2022

regional orland memorial day 2022 preview

Orland Park to add 7 names during Memorial Day ceremony

The Orland Park community is invited to join the village this Memorial Day in remembrance of those who have given their lives for our country. The ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, May 30, at the village’s memorial, Ara Pace – Place of Peace, located outside of Village Hall at 14700 S.…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Girls Soccer: De La Salle tops Bremen for program’s first regional title

By Steve Millar Correspondent De La Salle coach Carlos Nunez has seen his teams come up a bit short in the postseason repeatedly over the years. The Meteors had never won a regional championship in girls soccer. Until this year, that is. “I’ve been in every single one that we’ve lost in,” Nunez said. “We’ve…

Mallory Pugh, middle, moves the ball during the preseason. She played her first NWSL game Sunday and had two goals and an assist. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pro soccer report: Pugh tallies twice return in Red Stars’ win over Orlando

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Mallory Pugh gave a sample of what could be a big 2022 season when she scored four goals in the exhibition Challenge Cup series. But the Red Stars scoring threat missed the first two games of the NWSL season with an injury, and the team split decisions against Louisville and…

Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 8.23.03 AM

New ward map OKed

Reflects Madigan’s power By Tim Hadac The City Council this week approved a new ward map that, among other things, will see all of Clearing and most of Garfield Ridge shifted to the 13th Ward. Midway International Airport also would shift from the 23rd Ward to the 13th. Monday’s 43-7 vote means the issue will…

Sandburg's Jeremy Johnson, the hero of a semifinal win over Homewood-Flossmoor, legs out a hit in a 6-3 loss to Lockport on Saturday at Ozinga Field. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Sports Roundup: Sandburg takes 2nd at Bajenski tourney

By Jeff Vorva Staff writer The Sandburg baseball team has had more downs than ups this season. But the Eagles finished the regular season on a strong note with a run to second place at the Steven M. Bajenski Memorial Tournament, which wrapped up May 21 at Ozinga Field in Crestwood. To get to the…

Sandburg's 3200 meter relay team of (left to right) Sean Marquardt Declan Tunney, Trent Anderson and Brock Rice ran the third-best time in the nation Thursday at Lockport and finished in second place. Photo courtesy of Sandburg High School.

Track Postseason Report: Sandburg boys 3200 relay records nation’s third-best time in 2022

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer How good was the competition in the boys track Class 3A Lockport Sectional in the 3200 meter relay? Sandburg’s relay team of Brock Rice, Declan Tunney, Trent Anderson and Sean Marquardt ran a time of 7:42.42, which tied for the third-best time in the nation in 2022. And that was…

biz pop's beef logo

Pop’s to celebrate National Italian Beef Day with week of specials

Palos Heights-based Pop’s Italian Beef & Sausage is beefing up May this year with a week-long celebration of National Italian Beef Day at each of their locations. As part of the celebrations, Pop’s is hosting an interactive contest on their Facebook page during the week of National Italian Beef Day from Monday, May 23, through…

CRR NH Airport Heating Cooling
Regional Palos Gaidas Funeral Home House Ad