Eight City Council members refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance Wednesday, joining a protest started by City Councilman Jumaane Williams earlier this month.
“I’ll remain seated in an act of solidarity and patriotism,” said Councilman Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn). “I’m sorry if it’s in any way offensive to my constituents, but surely it is far less offensive than receiving vile hate mail or being worried about whether your teenage son is going to come home at night.”
Councilman Antonio Reynoso (D-Brooklyn) said he’d sit out the pledge until the country begins a “real conversation regarding race and injustice.”
“I know we can do better. I expect better from this country,” he said.
Councilmembers Carlos Menchaca, Rafael Espinal, and Inez Barron of Brooklyn, Andy King of the Bronx, and Ruben Wills of Queens also participated in the protest.
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said she respected her colleagues’ actions. “They have the right to do so,” she said. “It’s been pretty abhorrent to hear some of the backlash that Jumaane has been getting.”