Legislator Sam Gonzalez held a press conference on March 28th, 2023 to address the recent xenophobic and hateful comments made by Laurie Downs, the former Vice President of the Riverhead School Board. Legislator Gonzalez demanded Downs' resignation and a sincere apology for her derogatory remarks.
During the press conference, Legislator Gonzalez emphasized the need for a safe and inclusive educational environment where hatred and xenophobia have no place. Additionally, he addressed the inaccuracies presented by Downs regarding the Brentwood community, shedding light on the community's accomplishments and expressing concerns about the credibility of her statements. Legislator Gonzalez underscored the importance of accountability and criticized her negligence throughout the process. By perpetuating harmful stereotypes, Downs' remarks undermine the fundamental principles of respect and diversity.
In response to mounting pressure from the community and leaders, Laurie Downs ultimately made the decision to resign from her position on the Riverhead School Board. In a statement, she acknowledged the impact of her words and expressed her commitment to initiating the healing process.
Moving forward, Legislator Gonzalez and community partners will continue to advocate for policies and initiatives that promote equality, inclusivity, and cultural understanding within educational institutions across Suffolk County.