LANCASTER – A Lancaster Neighborhood Vitalization Commissioner has apologized for using an anti-gay slur during his remarks at this past weekend’s Community Prayer and Call to Action.
Stan Muhammad, one of several guest speakers at the event, used the term “faggot” while describing the Antelope Valley Youth Ambassador program and its concentration on social awareness. Specifically, Muhammad said:
“We’re gonna begin to mobilize like never before and honor Trayvon Martin. We’re gonna call this movement the Antelope Valley Youth Ambassadors for Peace. And we’re gonna begin to empower them with the tools necessary to organize like never before. There’s gonna be four areas that we’re gonna concentrate on. One of them is social awareness. We all need social awareness, don’t we? Especially our young people, who’s following behind these – I can’t even speak the way I want to speak ‘cause sisters is here – the young people is following behind faggots in this industry, straight up. Individuals who have sold their soul to the devil for a piece of paper…”
After the last speaker, Muhammad took the microphone again and apologized for the slur. He said the comment was directed at immoral entertainers being idolized by young people, and he did not mean to offend the gay community.
Organizers of the Community Prayer and Call to Action have condemned Muhammad’s remarks, calling them “intolerant” and “inexcusable.” In a press release issued Sunday, they said Muhammad is no longer a part of the AV Youth Ambassador program and Muhammad should be removed from his commission post with the City of Lancaster.
Read the full press release:
When the Community Prayer and Call to Action event was organized in light of the recent Zimmerman verdict, it was meant to be a call for solidarity and action that we as a community will not allow injustice. The event brought together a broad coalition of community leaders united through prayer seeking to create a new dialog between the community and their government.
However, during the event, one of the speakers: City of Lancaster Commissioner Stan Muhammad made a homophobic slur during his remarks to the attendees. It is the clear and unequivocal position that the Community Prayer and Call to Action organizer and coordinators find Commissioner Muhammad’s slur intolerant, egregious, inexcusable and has no place in the public square. In fact one of the coordinators of the Community Prayer and Call to Action event is a member of the LGBTQ community and finds Commissioner Muhammad’s slur to be appalling, hurtful and unbecoming of a City of Lancaster official. Therefore, in light of Commissioner Muhammad’s slur we call upon Mayor R. Rex Parris to remove him from his commission post as we hope his personal views don’t reflect the views of the City of Lancaster.
The Community Prayer and Call to Action also notifies the public that until further notice Commissioner Muhammad will no longer serve or help in any future events moving forward, including the AV Youth Ambassador program; a program focused on channeling youth energy into tackling issues such as lowering crime, increasing volunteerism, helping senior citizens and find a mentor. We implore Commissioner Muhammad to meet with members of the Outreach Center, to meet with members of the LGBTQ community and further understand the veracity of his comments. Perhaps in the future the organizer and coordinators of the Community Prayer and Call to Action can look towards resetting a dialogue with Mr. Muhammad, but now it is apparent in the current mindset–that is not an option. The event called for a new open minded attitude in the Antelope Valley and the commissioner clearly does not share this goal for the community at this present time. Commissioner Muhammad’s comment is not what we desire for the future of the Antelope Valley, we hope Mayor R. Rex Parris shares this sentiment.
Speaking by phone on Monday, Muhammad again apologized for the remark and said he was reaching out to the local gay community to create a dialogue around “tolerance and peace.”
Muhammad also issued a written statement, which reads:
“The comment that was made definitely could have been a better choice of wording. It wasn’t and never has been my intention to offend any group, including the gay community here in the Antelope Valley. I would like to offer my atonement, reconciliation and apology for offending that particular group in our community. I’m very familiar with racial discrimination and discrimination based on one’s beliefs, me being a Muslim. My intent was not to offend, and I would like to apologize to the gay community and any other group or persons that may have been offended by my comment.
I would like to meet with the leadership of the gay community to sit down and create a dialogue around tolerance and peace and to see what we can do to continue serving the at-risk members of our community here in the Antelope Valley.”
The OUTreach Center, which dedicates itself to furthering the LGBTQ community in the Antelope Valley, is willing to establish a dialogue with Muhammad, according to its President Sanie Andres.
“We as an organization and as a community were appalled to hear of his statements, and we definitely condemn the use of any slur against any minority group,” Andres said. “I’m looking forward to speaking with him and finding out what we can do to better educate him and to repair any rift between our communities.”