TRENTON, NJ – In response to an alleged incident during which basketball standout Nasir Dickerson, who is black, of Lenape Valley Regional High School was reportedly called the N-word and taunted with monkey noises during a game at Wallkill Valley Regional High School on February 13, Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic) issued the following statement Thursday:
“It is all too obvious that the racial climate in this country is becoming one in which people think that hurling racial slurs, hanging nooses and making obscene gestures towards others are acceptable. Well, it’s not. This type of behavior is wrong and cannot be tolerated. Too many people have fought and sacrificed their careers, families and in some cases, their lives, to ensure that people of all races and ethnicities are treated civilly and fairly.
“As a high school football coach, I can attest to the fact that stories such as the one reported at Wallkill Valley Regional High School are not isolated. They happen more than people realize which is why this incident must be investigated and if it is proven that it happened, those who allowed it should be punished.
“To put action behind uproar, I also encourage the community to learn more about A- 4679, a bill of which I am primary sponsor, which looks to establish a sensitivity training program for high school athletic personnel. This bill speaks to the very issue alleged at Wallkill Valley Regional High School. Such behavior cannot continue.”