The first Black mayor of Upper Marlboro, Maryland will be stepping down later this month, after stating that she has been the target of multiple racist attacks and bullying.
“I am writing to inform you that effective Friday, June 21, 2019, I will no longer be serving as mayor and president of the board of commissioners for the town of Upper Marlboro,” Upper Marlboro Mayor Tonga Turner wrote in her resignation letter, according to NBC Washington. “I am truly excited about what the future holds for the town and what the future holds for me as we both embark on new journeys.”
Turner told residents during a Monday night town hall meeting that she had been the victim of multiple racist attacks and bullying, though she also said that was not why she was resigning.
“She explained a lot about receiving threatening emails and being called certain words from her constituents,” Upper Marlboro resident Angel Saules said. “Her tires have been slashed, from what I understand. And then kind of like the kicker and I think what made it be a part of the meeting is that someone who attends very regularly had been sketching swastika signs.”
The person who was drawing swastikas is apparently a former town commissioner. Resident Monica Wilson said she looked over and saw him scribbling the hate sign over and over again throughout the meeting.
“No one as a whole, as an entire community, knew these things were happening until last night when she just resigned,” Wilson added.
Town spokesperson Ray Feldmann said that the mayor is resigning to spend more time with family, although he did acknowledge the backlash Turner’s progressive thinking prompted.
“She is about not accepting the status quo, shaking things up, and that has not been acceptable to a lot of people,” Feldmann said.