Chair Gigi Li Responds to Allegations of ‘Racial Insensitivity’ in Community Board 3

Posted on: April 30th, 2014 at 9:38 am by

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Gigi Li at Pier 42, May 2013

Chair Gigi Li responded yesterday to allegations of racial insensitivity brought forth by Community Board 3 member Ayo Harrington. At issue is the purported lack of minority leadership appointments to various committees, but specifically to Black and Latino members. The more global issue here, as some in the community are quick to assert, is the total lack of leadership from the Chair herself.

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Gigi Li’s letter is not cordial by any means, and takes a more defensive approach. Moreover, as our source points out, there are two main inconsistencies with her retort.

  1. The board Chair does not appoint, nor have influence over new members to the Community Board. That is the responsibility of the Borough President (Gale Brewer) and City Council (Margaret Chin and Rosie Mendez).
  2. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission does not apply in this particular situation since all board members are volunteers. According to its guidelines, volunteers are not deemed “protected” unless the worker “receives benefits such as a pension, group life insurance, workers’ compensation, and access to professional certification, even if the benefits are provided by a third party.”

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