By James Wright, Special to the AFRO, jwright@afro.com

A Jewish member of the District of Columbia and one of the leading Latino leaders in the city recently got into a confrontation with one another over the latest events taking place regarding D.C. Council member Trayon White.

Joshua Lopez, a former advisory neighborhood commissioner in Ward 4 and a member of the D.C. Housing Authority, criticized D.C. Council members Elissa Silverman (I-At Large), Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) and Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1) for their attitude toward White for allegedly being “anti-Semitic” and “anti-gay” on his Facebook page on April 21.

Joshua Lopez is defending D.C. Council member Trayon White from attacks from Jewish leaders. In his defense he called out Council member Elissa Silverman (Courtesy Photo)

On April 20, Nadeau voiced support for a council censuring resolution against White for donating monies from his constituent service fund for an event that was sponsored by the Nation of Islam recently. Cheh and D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) supported Nadeau’s efforts on the White censure.

Silverman doesn’t support the White censure at this time.

Lopez said the motivation for this was political.

“All three are up for re-election and are locked in tight races,” Lopez said. “People know that Trayon and those who have worked with him over the years know his lifelong dedication to social justice and equality. What a teachable moment for all is now being twisted into political opportunism in a bid to undermine their colleague and push their agenda.

“We must reject their below the best tactics and vote them out.”

White is also being criticized for supposedly leaving a tour of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum early out of lack of interest.

Earlier this year, Lopez had the support of Silverman and Nadeau but not Cheh in his quest to serve on the D.C. Housing Authority board.

On April 22, Lopez received text messages from Silverman calling him “a hatemongering bully” and saying that he hated her because she is Jewish. On April 23, Lopez visited the AFRO’s Washington office and showed the messages to its editorial staff.

Lopez told the AFRO that he is deeply disturbed by Silverman’s actions.

“I think what started out as a teachable moment has now taken a dangerous turn,” he said. “There was strong language used to characterize people and that only fans flames of racial and religious division and not building coalitions. There shouldn’t be a political attack on Council member White and using words such as hatemonger, bullying and hateful.

“What is the end game for this? They are trying to destroy Trayon. There is no positive outcome from that approach.”

He later said “legislators should be trying to help people across the city not hurt them.”

Silverman told the AFRO that Lopez was wrong in his characterization that she was out to get White. Her staff sent the AFRO press releases criticizing White when he made the comment in March that the Rothschilds, a wealthy Jewish banking dynasty in Europe, controlled governments and the weather and using his constituent service fund to support the Nation of Islam.

Silverman has engaged in constructive activities and conversation with White since the Rothschilds comment.

“Josh Lopez is intentionally and deliberately misleading residents to create division,” she said. “His hate-mongering is disgusting to me and the residents of the city.”

Lopez said that a unity rally will take place in front of the John A. Wilson Building on April 25 at 5:30 p.m. and will have speakers and participants from various racial, religious and ethnic groups.