Ossining Candidate Withdraws from Race after Backlash Over Posts
An Ossining resident running for a seat on the Village Board withdrew his nomination Monday afternoon after receiving a surge of backlash last week when a series of racist and misogynistic posts were discovered on his Twitter page.
First-time candidate David Kezafrika, who was running for one of the two open seats on the Village Board under the support of the Working Families line, came under fire last week after The Northern Westchester Examiner published several questionable posts he made on his Twitter account. Kezafrika announced his candidacy in September, stating he wants to make a difference in his community.
“I am deeply sorry for my tweets” Kezafrika said. “It was never my intention to offend or otherwise add to the discourse of adversity and hatred that is already too prevalent in our country. I am a son, a brother, and an uncle and I respect all women.”
Within the last year, more than a dozen posts referencing rape, race, women and drugs were discovered on Kezafrika’s Twitter page under the handle MajorGloryus. Kezafrika, 29, used inappropriate language, such as the N-word, made crude remarks about women being “hoes” and tweeted disparaging remarks about single mothers.
“Why do some of the good looking on the dating sites all have kids?! It’s bad enough that they are Hispanic and black. It says a lot about those minorities. Guys have to put up with even more,” one tweet said.
“Stop letting ni—gas hit just because they bought you a meal,” another tweet read.
Kezafrika also posted that an influx of white people makes him feel “uneasy,” that “white unsuccessful people are trash,” and how “anything is possible when you sound white on the phone.”
“We strongly disagree with the views expressed in David Kezafrika’s social media posts,” members of the Working Families Party said. “These statements are not consistent with the values of the Working Families Party. We support David Kezafrika’s decision to withdraw from the race and issue an apology.”
Following the Oct. 16 publication, Kezafrika said that he never intended to perpetuate racial stereotypes that are hurtful to his friends, neighbors and members of the diverse community he loves. He said he has learned from his mistakes and is reflecting on the impact his words have on the people he cares about.
“Sadly, I will be withdrawing from the race of Ossining Village Trustee,” Kezafrika sent the Working Families Party. “I thank the Working Families Party for believing in my ability as a candidate. I hope this will allow the community to focus on what’s truly at stake.”
Throughout the week, elected officials condemned Kezafrika’s postings and stressed that his disqualifying tweets do not embody the values of someone who should represent over 25,000 Ossining residents. While few came to his defense, community members also buzzed on social media about the inaptness of Kezafrika’s postings.
“Our community is one of hope, diversity, aspirations and families. We are a village that works together and is stronger because of our diversity,” Ossining Mayor Victoria Gearity said. “Comments that disparage women and those of different races have no place in Ossining Village government.”
Ossining Trustee Rika Levin, who was running against Kezafrika in the Nov. 6 election, said that while she doesn’t know Kezafrika very well, she found his posting to be “sexist and quite racist.”
“Given the national landscape we’ve been going through, it’s totally inappropriate,” Levin said. “I don’t know how to react to it.”
Ossining Trustee and mayoral candidate Omar Herrara, who is friends with Kezafrika and publicly supported his campaign, said Kezafrika demonstrated poor judgement in his posts. While he was glad that Kezafrika acknowledged his tweets were wrong and that he made a mistake, he noted the posts were “offensive, inappropriate and very unfortunate.”
Herrara, who is also running on the Working Families line, said he would be running independently throughout the remainder of his campaign.
With Kezafrika a district leader with the Town of Ossining Democratic Committee, committee chair Thomasina Laidey-Brown said Kezafrika is not endorsed by the Democratic party as a village trustee candidate and never sought a nomination. Laidey-Brown added that Kezafrika’s posts “cannot represent the values of someone representing the Town of Ossining in any capacity.”
“Ossining is a welcoming, open community – which also happens to have immensely diverse representation,” Laidey-Brown said. “These statements in no way represent who we are, and in fact stand in stark contrast to the values we hold.”