Head of Trumbull diversity and inclusion task force asked to resign following controversial social media post

The head of the Trumbull Equity, Diversity & Inclusion task force is being asked to resign after she compared the thin blue line flag to the Confederate flag in a social media post.

News 12 Staff

Feb 12, 2021, 11:03 PM

Updated 1,164 days ago


The head of the Trumbull Equity, Diversity & Inclusion task force is being asked to resign after she compared the thin blue line flag to the Confederate flag in a social media post.
Trumbull resident Cindy Penkoff, who proudly displays the thin blue line flag outside her home in support of police, says the head of the task force, Tara Figeroa is out of line.
Penkoff says she is calling for Figeroa to be removed from that position because of comments she made on social media about the flag before she assumed her position.
The Trumbull Police Union also released a statement calling for Figeroa to resign.
Figeroa asked that she not be shown due to threats made against her. She says she is not anti-police, and that this controversy has led to a "gross mischaracterization" of her and her views.
"When you denigrate that flag, you denigrate the law enforcement officers who go along with that flag," Penkoff said.
Penkoff says Figeroa's comments run so fundamentally counter to the task force's mission and to the spirit of the Trumbull community that she must be removed.
"If you are the head of an inclusion diversity committee, you don't make negative comments about any group at all. I don't care what that group is. Your job is to bring people together -- not push people away and not cause a wedge," she says.
Figeroa released the statement below:
"Because of the hostile nature in which my personal perspectives on the Blue Lives Matter banner were circulated, I hesitated making any public statement out of fear of having more prejudice, defamation and threats directed at me. However, it is more apparent that the gravity of the situation we are facing in Trumbull is far greater than me, and I believe it can be a teachable moment for us all.
Unfortunately, my words from last summer were taken wholly out of context and positioned in a way that put the very institution meant to protect and respect the Constitutional rights of all people to liberty, equality and justice, against me for expressing an opinion I held at a time in our country when I felt the Blue Lives Matter symbol was being widely misused as a symbol of hate having been prominently displayed at White Nationalist events attended by self-identified members of the neo-Confederates, neo-Nazis, neo-facists, and various right-wing militias, including the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally at Charlottesville, VA.
I am beyond grateful for the hard work and dedication of our brave police officers who are often called to put the safety and security of others before their own. I have the highest regard for the work that they do – this has always been my stance. From the conversations I have had with family and friends in law enforcement, I understand that it is more difficult than ever to be a police officer. But, to be fair, there is also a tremendous amount of struggle and anxiety to be a minority woman as affirmed by my experience over the course of the last couple of days.
I understand that the Blue Lives Matter flag raises strong feelings for many, but we ought to be able to have open-minded conversations about it. The way in which this entire ordeal has been handled by the Trumbull Police Union over social media was wrong and provided an avenue for hate and misconduct to be directed toward me. This should never happen to any citizen, not ever."
First Selectman Vicki Tesoro says a meeting is being scheduled to address the matter.

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