CB 9 Pledge of Allegiance Issue Festers

CB 9 Pledge of Allegiance Issue Festers

By Michael V. Cusenza

What began months ago seemingly as a cultural molehill has grown into a mountain of an issue towering over Community Board 9.

Sam Esposito, president of the Ozone Park Residents Block Association and the Ozone Park Howard Beach Woodhaven Lions Club, on Monday sent a letter to the editor calling for the removal of CB 9 First Vice Chairman Faiuze Ali for his stance on the Pledge of Allegiance at official meetings.

This isn’t the first time that Esposito, a former longtime member of CB 9, has publicly challenged Ali. Last October, Esposito ripped Ali for wearing a hat during the recitation of the pledge, adding that “everyone should respect the flag as a body of appointed members.”

In his letter, Esposito noted that Ali was confronted by CB 9 leadership “and told that he should remove his hat out of respect.” Ali insisted he would not take off the hat. This has resulted in a “bone of contention among board members, the residents, elected officials, and others who attend these meetings,” Esposito wrote.

The Ozone Park native reported that Ali walked out of the room for the duration of the pledge at the November and December CB 9 meetings, and that Ali purposely moved out of camera range in the January meeting on Zoom while the rest of the board recited the pledge.

“These actions are unacceptable, distasteful, disrespectful, unpatriotic, disloyal, traitorous, and treasonous,” Esposito said. “As an American with family members who served, as a civic leader who represents our residents, including veterans, and as a resident who lives in CB 9, this is embarrassing and sets a bad example to the children who are being exposed to this atrocity. As a constituent, it is appalling that elected officials are not saying more about this or publicly saying anything at all.”

Esposito called on residents of CB 9 communities (Woodhaven, Kew Gardens, and parts of Ozone Park and Richmond Hill) to flood the offices of the Queens Borough President and area pols with expressions of disgust and demand that Ali not be reappointed.

“Before you say it is his right, it is, BUT he is an appointed member and representative for our communities and residents. As such, he should respect American customs and our country by removing his hat and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. This atrocity has gone on too long and unchecked because the silent majority refuse to confront him. I would rather stand alone in the minority and be right than sit on the sidelines with the majority and be complicit in these actions,” Esposito espoused in his missive. “We were brought up better than this, and by sitting on the sidelines, you are just as complicit in this anti-American action by your silence. Your silence speaks volumes, and people are reading between the lines. It is time to stand up for what is right, even if it means you stand alone. At least you stand alone to do the right thing rather than allow this to continue unchecked and unspoken about.”


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