Another call for Mount Prospect trustee to drop out of race over use of racial slur

A Mount Prospect mayoral candidate and current village trustee is calling for trustee candidate Terri Gens to withdraw from the race and be removed from the Mount Prospect Public Library board for using a racial slur during an endorsement interview with the Daily Herald.

In a letter to the Daily Herald, Trustee William Grossi also suggests that another trustee candidate who came to Gens' defense, Peggy Pissarreck, should drop out of the race as well.

Grossi wrote that use of the slur is "unacceptable at any time without exception."

"It is especially worrisome since each of the candidates has professed that they are for racial diversity and inclusion," he wrote. "Gens attacked the (Mount Prospect) police patch as a symbol that is 'terrifying to a third of the population' while at the same time insulting people of color."

Gens used the slur when discussing experiences of minority students at Prospect High School. She later acknowledged she should have said "the 'N' word" instead of the actual word.

Grossi's letter follows that of village board candidate Agostino "Augie" Filippone, who last week called for Gens to pull out of the race. Gens, Filippone, Pissareck and write-in candidate Brian Maye are running for three board seats at stake in the April 6 election.

Gens was defended at Tuesday's Mount Prospect village board meeting by village resident Joann Smith, whose grandson was targeted by the slur at Prospect High. She said she believes Gens is being railroaded.

"I know Terri. Maybe she shouldn't have said the word out loud. Maybe she should have used an initial when she was saying it," said Smith, who is Black.

"But for the people that are calling for her to step down, and I believe Peggy also, I say to them check your own closet before you start picking on somebody else."

"So I will say to the people that are asking for Terri to step down, if I can move on from it, I think you should," she said.

On Thursday, the library board held a committee of the whole meeting, at which the trustees expressed their support for Gens.

"Terri committed a lapse of judgment, and she has apologized for it," library board vice president Michael Duebner said,

He said the library board condemns "the use of disparaging and offensive language."

Two Mount Prospect trustee candidates call for redesign of police patch

William Grossi
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