By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. Editor

On June 8 activists from Black Lives Matter and other concerned residents asked Council member Elissa Silverman (I- At-large) via Twitter if she would defund the police; however, while the Jewish politician expressed her support of the movement, she used her reply for a backhanded deflection towards support for anti-Semitism.

Let’s break down the moments leading up to the Council member’s tone-deaf tweet towards Black Lives.

Activists are outraged after Council member Elissa Silverman avoided answering a question about defunding the police and instead backhandedly called out Black Lives Matter DC for not supporting anti-Semitic efforts. (Courtesy Photos)

Black Lives Matter replied to one of the Council member’s tweets writing, “But the real question is, will you #DefundPolice in DC?”

Another Twitter user, Alisa Zipursky (@healinghonestly) piggybacked on the question, writing, “Yes we’d like to know the answer to that question!  Hoping you will stand with the community activists and leaders and defund the MPD to make our city safe for our Black neighbors.”

Silverman replied a bit later saying she supported the Black Lives Matter movement of defunding the police, but did not say whether or not she would actually do so.  

“The answer is yes.  I am supportive,” Silverman wrote, before the next part of her tweet backhandedly calls out Black Lives Matter for being unsupportive of hate towards Jews.  “I hope will eventually stand with me against too.”

The following morning, Black Lives Matter replied enraged at the Council member’s assertions and accused her of not listening to Black people.

“You’ve got to be kidding us.  How dare you.  You know good and well, or actually we know you don’t listen to Black people.  We released a whole letter against it.  What YOU haven’t done is apologize to all the people you talked about ,” Black Lives Matter DC tweeted.

Directly after the organization replied to the tweet, Black Lives Matter DC organizer April Goggans also tweeted in response to the Council member. “Be clear this is from me in case press wants to know about your support of unaccountable anti-Black like , we tried to have internal accountability processes for years, folks YOU know tried to address it.  You standing with us against them,” Goggans wrote.

Zipursky, who is also Jewish, was frustrated by the Council member’s reply.

“I didn’t reply to this last night because as a Jew, I was so angered by your reply that I needed a beat.  This is not about some ‘trade-off’ of support.  You are in a position of power.  You are legislating on the MPD budget,” Zipursky wrote. You are hearing from your constituents via asking if you’re going to support laws that either oppress them or make them safe.  How dare you make this about anti-Semitism? Do your job,” she added.

The AFRO reached out to Council member Silverman’s office for an official statement, which her team promised to provide at a later date.

Since the outrage and the AFRO’s questioning, Council member Silverman took to Twitter to apologize.

“I want to be clear about my previous comment- it was unhelpful and I apologize.  I support the work of Black Lives Matter without exception and hope to continue doing this important work together,” Silverman tweeted.


Micha Green

AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor