Statue of Mexicans causes anger, puzzlement in Passaic

Sep 17, 2009 Full story: Millville News

A gesture meant to honor a visiting Mexican musical duo by placing a statue of them at a major intersection has angered some Passaic residents, the mayor said Wednesday, but others who live nearby say they're puzzled, not offended.

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yungin black

Marina, CA

#1 Sep 17, 2009
i bez angry too when i sees a messican standin around and da polese done evn harass da messykin but dey be racial preofile on da black manz all da timez! aint dat a beech!

“THE HIGH COUNTRY”

Level 5

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#2 Sep 17, 2009
That ain't no statue.

Those are two Mexican day laborers looking for a landscaping gig for the day. The cops chased them away from the Home Depot parking lot , so they figured they would have better luck standing in the middle of the road.

Since: May 10

Location hidden

#3 May 4, 2013
Statue of Mexicans causes anger, puzzlement in Passaic

I received phone calls, mainly from the African-American community, saying 'What are the statues doing there? We're not being represented; they (the singing group) haven't done anything for Passaic,'" Blanco said. "I'm shocked at the different comments that were made."

But several black residents of Speer Village, which is across the street from the statue, say anger over its placement had nothing to do with anti-Latino sentiment.

"We've always lived in a diverse community. It has nothing to do with that," said Catherine Simpson, an 18-year resident of the complex. "Nobody down here is protesting anything. We just want to know what it represents."

Simpson said several residents were confused by the statue, did not understand why it was placed there or who it depicted -- the plaque was in Spanish -- and were concerned by its location at a dangerous intersection near the busy exit ramp of a major roadway.

Simpson and others said there isn't widespread resentment among African-Americans against the growing Mexican population in Passaic, so much as bewilderment at how insular they can be in holding large-scale events without involving the wider community.

"You could have probably involved the rest of the community in that endeavor, and they could have supported it and said; "Oh, they're celebrating something important to them -- inclusion," said resident Evelyn Robinson.

Blanco said the festival, and the statue, were meant to celebrate Passaic's diversity, and its large Mexican population. He said flap over the statue stemmed from miscommunication that some residents were seeking to exploit.

"We are a 3.2-mile city full of ethnicity here. We have Indians, we have African-Americans, Latinos, Jewish, Arabs, and it's not heavily tensioned, but there's little frictions here and there," he said. "I guess this statue has created some friction, and there's certain individuals that took advantage of the situation and try to bring Passaic to the past and create racial tension, but it's not a huge problem."

The statue, which cannot withstand the weather, will be removed and stored for use at future events. Blanco said he plans to use the spot to showcase Passaic's communities, and will place a statue of Martin Luther King Jr. there in celebration of Black History Month in February.

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Some years ago a housing project Philadelphia was named in honor of a Puerto Rican and all hell broke loose.

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