Recently a Zona Podcast, hosted by Jason Cvancara, featured Elizabeth Harper on race relations in the Town of Gilbert.
Ms. Harper has served on the Board of the Chandler Republican Women’s organization, as Chairman of Gilbert’s Human Relations Commission, has sat on the board of Gilbert’s Congress of Neighborhoods, and Gilbert’s Small Business Alliance. Ms. Harper is a Gilbert Leadership graduate, a Republican Precinct Committeewoman, and a graduate of the Gilbert Police Citizens Academy. Ms. Harper has held many other positions in service to the Gilbert community.
Ms. Harper is one of eleven children and has faced adversity and she seems to have done so, with style and grace.
In the interview, Ms. Harper explains that she never felt discriminated against until her experience with Gilbert Town Councilwoman, Brigette Peterson. In a meeting with Ms. Peterson discussing how the process to run for council works, Ms. Peterson told Ms. Harper that she could not run for council.
Ms. Harper responded “Why?”
Ms. Peterson responded, “BECAUSE YOU’RE BLACK!”
Ms. Harper was visibly upset, as witnessed by another person at the meeting. Ms. Harper went to Councilman Jared Taylor to share what had happened. Not wanting to discuss this hurtful matter publicly, it went undiscussed. Ms. Harper also did not want to throw anyone in Gilbert under the bus, let alone a current councilwoman, but now that she is running for mayor, she sees it differently.
Ms. Peterson responded on a Facebook thread where she called Elizabeth Harper a “liar” rather than working to find out where communication had broken down and take responsibility for her very inappropriate and racist comment. This was not a casual comment this was blatant racism, to think the people of Gilbert wouldn’t elect her because of the color of her skin. Ms. Peterson has said she would respond with a statement to the “Lies being told” but at time of the publishing of this article, she had not. This does not seem a priority for her. Why would she not want to address this and make it right? Well, in my opinion you really cannot make it right when you tell someone they are not able to do what you are allowed to do, because of their skin color.
Gilbert needs better. Ms. Peterson is now running for Mayor and electing someone with these ideas, is just wrong.
Here is the full link to the podcast. The statements on what was said start at about 18 minutes. However I encourage people to listen to the whole thing as Elizabeth Harper is a great editorial on our current racial issues.