Residents urge New Berlin to fight racist stigma

July 13, 2011

With the U.S. Justice Department asking a federal judge to order New Berlin to issue building permits for a low- to moderate-income housing project the city nixed last summer, the ugly label of racist that the feds are hanging on New Berlin was back in the spotlight.

And a lot of New Berlin residents don't like it.

At a Common Council meeting Tuesday night, they urged the council to keep fighting the Justice Department lawsuit, filed June 23, to clear the city's name and stop its residents from being the brunt of jokes.

They wanted the council also to defend the city against the charge of racism in the media.

"We have been stained," said an angry Kevin Bush of Meadowshire Drive. "The United States government calls the city of New Berlin racist?"

Many speakers also were tired of getting "no comment" from officials, who said the matter is in litigation and some even suspected that outsiders were responsible for racist emails sent to the mayor and for the racist signs that appeared at his home.

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