City Desk

Mayor Vince Gray, Chairman Kwame Brown Condemn Barry’s Statements On Asian-Owned Businesses

Two days after former mayor-for-life Marion Barry's victory-night pledge to "do something about" the Asian-owned businesses in Ward 8, which he characterized as "dirty," city leadership is stepping forward to decry his comments.

Today on WPFW, Ward 6 Councilmartyr Saint Tommy Wells told Barry what he said was "deplorable," after Barry said his Council colleagues wouldn't complain about it. And now both D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown and Mayor Vince Gray have released statements.

Brown's office:

Washington, DC—Today, DC Council Chairman Kwame Brown released the following statement on recent negative comments made by Councilmember Barry about Asian American business owners in the District:

“I strongly disagree with the recent remarks made about Asian American business owners in the District.  Statements like that are divisive, destructive, and have absolutely no place in our city.

The District’s character is enriched by the wonderful diversity present throughout our communities. Our city takes great pride in the variety of people who live here; we value and regard all of our residents and welcome all visitors.  This respect includes recognition, consideration and incorporation of multiple voices and perspectives in our city’s policies and economy.  I remain committed to celebrating diversity, eliminating harassment, discrimination, and victimization, and promoting equality of opportunity for all people.”

Gray's office:

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray today responded to a recent comment by Councilmember Marion Barry regarding the Asian-American community and Ward 8.

“I am deeply disappointed by Councilmember Barry’s comment,” Mayor Gray said. “There is no room in this wonderfully diverse city for comments that disparage anyone on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, disability or sexual orientation. Our energies are better spent focused on building everyone up rather than tearing anyone down. That is how we achieve the vision of One City.”

For his own part, Barry took to Twitter with pictures of bullet-proof glass in what looked like Chinese carryout joints, using them as proof that some of these shops are not up to his standards, then turned on critics, accusing them of trying to silence him.

Video from NBCWashington

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