The Republican Club of Cerritos welcomed Gracey Van Der Mark, a racist supporter of the Proud Boy, to the Cerritos Library weeks after beating the AAPI in City Park – Cerritos Community News

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WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? Cerritos Republican Club officers, bottom right, Dean Grose, who organized the event, the former mayor of Los Alamitos posted a photo of watermelons outside the White House after Obama was elected IN 2009.

September 19, 2021

BY BRIAN HEWS

gracey Van Der Mark, an extremely controversial local school board candidate who has been accused of being affiliated with white supremacists while being accused of racist social media posts, spoke at the Cerritos Library on Wednesday evening.

A flyer was posted on social media under the logo of the Cerritos Republican Club which sponsored the event.

BRINGING RACISM TO CERRITOS- A simple Internet search of Van De Mark would have produced several images like this one. Behind Van De Mark (front) is a woman carrying a white supremacist sign.

The leaflet was also seen on the right-wing Republican-leaning Facebook page Cerritos Press One, which barred HMG-CN from joining.

Sources told HMG-CN that Los Alamitos board member Dean Grose organized the event. In 2020, he was accused of sending a racist email in 2009, as reported by the OCR.

In February of that year, a month after President Barack Obama was inaugurated, Los Alamitos Mayor Grose passed on a meme to his friends and colleagues that he found humorous.

The image showed the White House lawn planted with watermelons.

Grose’s email quickly circulated far beyond her address book and the national news cycle, shining the spotlight on the small town.

“I saw it in a light-hearted way, but it was interpreted as racism,” recalled Grose, who resigned amid controversy.

The flyer promoting Van Der Mark’s appearance in the library was titled What Are Your Children Learning? “Join the free, non-partisan educational conversation about raising our children. Critical Race Theory is taught to our students without our consent, and we must stand together for the future of our children.

Critical Race Theory is only taught in college classes and not Kindergarten to Grade 12, it is an alternate discussion topic that is used to drive another wedge between American citizens.

Cerritos City Council held a special meeting on Monday, September 13, which was ultimately dominated by the club’s questionable invitation and sponsorship of Van Der Mark.

ALT-RIGHT PROTEST: Holding a protest flag, Gracey Van Der Mark participates in a right-wing event where some members gathered in Charlottesville chanting “The Jews will not replace us.”

Councilors Bruce Barrows, Chuong Vo and Naresh Solanki are active members of the club and have received large donations during election years.

The fireworks display began with public commentary, speaker after speaker taking the stage and slamming the Cerritos Republican Club – and Board members who promote the club – for inviting Van Der Mark to speak.

“It perpetuates hatred in the city and it is unacceptable.”

“The Republican Party in Cerritos is lost.

“I have a problem with the leadership here.”

Chris Foster angrily criticized Van der Mark’s invitation by the Cerritos Republican Club.

Foster pointed to her connections with some infamous members of the Alternative Right.

He cited many names that were filmed at several highly controversial events including Charlottesville and the neo-Nazi book burning that Van Der Mark praised.

“It is time for the Republican Club members, of which Barrows, Vo and Solanki are members, to speak out against this.”

Anantha Ramachadran pointed out that the board is dominated by members of the Cerritos Republican Club, which they have supported for many years. “You have to talk about this,” he said.

Norma Williamson expressed concern about Van Der Mark, “her only political experience is a stint as finance commissioner and the fact that she ran and lost for the Tito-approved Huntington Beach city council Ortiz, another infamous right-wing hack “.

Seth Grossman, son of Marty and Gail Grossman, said: “The Republican club has chosen to dishonor our city”.

He pointed out that Van de Mark and two other men had invaded a meeting at the Simon Wiesenthal center. “They then showed up in Charlottesville chanting ‘The Jews will not replace us’,” he said.

“It perpetuates hatred in the city and it is unacceptable.”

Sam the Taxman Desai, who was against the ABC School Bond which facilitates many of the state’s top ABCs, said Cerritos’ Republican Party was lost.

HMG-CN has requested comment from City Council, at the time of publication only Councilor Frank Yokoyama has responded.

A vocal critic of racism, Yokoyama told HMG-CN: “I am outraged and deeply saddened whenever racism and racists are discovered or revealed in our town of Cerritos. The prevalence and tolerance of hateful and racist people threaten security in our town of Cerritos. I denounce these hateful and racist people and their hateful racist acts and speech that sow fear in the hearts of our own diverse communities, and I urge my fellow leaders to make such denunciations as well. I strongly urge the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to protect Cerritos from racist attacks and hate crimes.

Grose invited members of the ABC school board, only administrators Chris Apodaca and Olga Rios have publicly stated that they “definitely won’t go.” Administrator Brad Beach was out of town.

HMG-CN was present at the event and watched newly elected Administrator Michael Eugenio and Administrator Soo Yoo attend.

Eugenio responded but avoided talking about Van Der Mark’s background: “Thanks for contacting me, Mr. Hews. My colleagues and I were invited to attend this event which included a presentation on Critical Race Theory. As a longtime member of the community and a new board member, I am interested in all opinions that impact our children. It is important for me to listen to the presentations so that when parents ask me questions, I am better equipped to answer them. I work closely with our superintendent and our district on our ethnic studies program. I look forward to this program which will bring cultural awareness and tolerance to our students.

Administrator Soo Yoo said: “[I] did not know her and had no information about the speakers. As a member of the Republican club, I attended primarily to support the Republican club, and yes, I knew the CRT topic was going to be discussed. And I don’t appreciate that a highly controversial topic like CRT is a problem and obstacle for our educators. They already have to juggle many academic needs, a pandemic learning loss, the fear of the Delta, the safety of our students. As a person of color myself, I will not tolerate racism both ways, all ethnicities. I will strive to support strong academic education opportunities for all children.

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