Disappointed with absence of Pelham Manor officials at rally to Stop Asian Hate

To the editor:

We are writing to express our concern over Pelham Manor Mayor Jennifer Monachino Lapey’s response to a question, asked at the April 12, 2021 Village of Pelham Manor board meeting, about the absence of any Pelham Manor government official at the Pelham United Rally held on April 3 to Stop Asian Hate. The rally was well attended by local community residents and officials, and featured a number of brave speakers from Pelham—primarily students ranging as young as grade school, through high school age levels, who shared their experiences on how Anti-Asian micro or macro aggressions have affected them personally.

When asked about the absence of any Pelham Manor government officials at the rally, Lapey’s response was that an invitation to the rally was “conspicuously absent,” that she was not made aware of the event until the day before the rally, and that she could not attend because she was committed to be out of town. We confirmed that Nora Tahbaz, a co-founder of Pelham United, sent Lapey an invitation on March 31 asking her and other local officials to attend and/or speak at the event. This email provided the same advance notice that other government officials were afforded. The rally organizers received a response to this invitation from the state and local officials representing both villages other than from Pelham Manor’s board. Given the recent campaign assuring constituents that Lapey is involved and accessible, with an emphasis on how she is reachable at any time by email, one can imagine the dismay over the lack of Pelham Manor representation in support of the rally. At least one elected official who was unable to attend in person took the time to write a statement to be shared at the rally in support of bringing an end to hate crimes targeting the Asian communities. We feel that Lapey could have asked another Manor representative to attend or sent a statement in support of this important cause. Further, many were surprised to learn at our village board’s April 12 meeting that several of the trustees said they did not know about the rally beforehand, when Lapey had been sent the invitation on March 31. Clearly, there was a lack of communication or effort to make sure our community was represented.

The event was widely publicized over social media and many residents were aware and attended. Not having the Village of Pelham Manor represented while other local and state government officials were, was a missed opportunity and, frankly, a little embarrassing for Pelham Manor residents who attended.

We learned on April 14 that Lapey located and acknowledged that the invitation was in fact extended to her and the board. This apparent confusion is disappointing. We hope that, as a community leader and long time resident committed to our village, this was just an oversight which the mayor will take actions to avoid in the future.

Fortunately, Lapey and the Pelham Manor trustees have another opportunity to show their interest in helping to find solutions to this important issue, which impacts many of their constituents, by attending the Town of Pelham Public Library AAPI “Brave Space” event to be held on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. Many will be hoping for their support and engagement.

Allison Frost

4579 Boston Post Road


Nandini Anandu

Irina Brandler

Jennifer Cheng

Tracie Cohen

Chris D’Angelo

Wendy and Wade Dougherty

Christine Elliot

Melissa Eustace

Allison Frost

Karen Gardner

Adam and Jennifer Gerber

Patricia and Bill Knickerbocker

Melissa Labonte

Andy Lee

Sara and Larry Mallach

Toby Marxuach-Gusciora

Ramsey McGrory

Kara McLoughlin

Tifenn Missey-Navarro

Sanjay Naik

Jen O’Connor Parmelee

Kate Pringle

Jennifer Rohr

Allison and Thomas Tam

Tara Weishaupl

Moneeka Zaman