The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Freeport, Roosevelt Youth Branch (NAACPFRYB) and Young Long Island for Justice organized a Freeport candidate forum and a proceeding texting event, requesting candidates from two different slates who are running in Freeport in village elections.
According to Kiana Abbady, who is a steering community member for Youth Long Island for Justice, had a list of registered voters from ages to 13-45. They were creating generic text messages to send out to Freeport residents reminding and encouraging them to go out and exercise their right to vote on Tuesday, March 16. The Platform used to send these text messages allows you to only send texts from a computer. Their target audience was mainly democrats and the usual hard working middle class.
Myles Hollingsworth, a 16-year-old junior Freeport High School student, who serves as president for the NAACPFRYB, was sending messages and was called the N-word by a Freeport resident on Feb 20.
The message sent to him stated, “F** You i do not vote after they got rid of Mr. Doanld Trump, He was a good president. F** You N*****.”
As soon as the incident happened, it was immediately brought to Abbady and other members’ attention.
“It’s really disgusting what they said, it’s racist, it’s wrong, it only underscores the important work of the community organization that Kiana and I are part of,” said Hollingsworth. “He or she called me that word because they wanted to elevate themselves. It wasn’t usetteling, it was disgusting to see. We have to apologize to the younger viewers that were there and the younger participants that were there.”
“Being a racist doesn’t have a specific party, it’s blind to that,” said Abbday. “They used hate speech against someone they don’t even know. What’s most disappointing is that this is a resident of Freeport and with how diverse Freeport is, you clearly don’t deserve to live here if you are going to use language like that! These text platforms don’t provide any specific information about the person. At the time of the incident, they only had information about this person being a registered voter.”
Abbday reached out into the Black and brown community in Freeport and were able to find a solid lead on a name. Although they have a strong lead on a name, they aren’t able to 100% confirm the phone number they have is linked to the correct person.
“We have four names, the number matches someone else, we have an address, we have an age,” Abbday further stated. “Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to confirm the phone number. When you are preparing to dock someone you want to make sure you have the right person and there’s not any issues before putting this information out there for those people to do what they want with it. If we are able confirm this phone number this would be a different story.”
This incident has not in any way shape or form discouraged Hollingsworth in his pursuit to continue spreading positivity throughout the community, in fact, this has made him stronger and more aware of his purpose of what he’s doing.
“I expressed my concerns and my emotion for the incident is because I know there are people I invited to participate in this event who are younger and don’t have as thick skin as me,” said Hollingsworth. “Something like that could have damaged them. Their goal was to put themselves on a huge platform. I exposed people who are younger than me and have less stronger heart than me when it comes to that violence.”
According to Hollingsworth, a racial slur will not slow down the work he is trying to do in the community.
“Being involved politically means you are going to be exposed to the nastiness of the community,” said Hollingsworth. “But that’s what makes a leader, someone who is able to handle all of that. Handle all with grace and make sure you set a path forward.”