On Dec. 7, 2011, Easthampton (Massachusetts) Councilor-at-Large Donald Cykowski made a racist comment at a City Council meeting. The comment came about when Councilor-at-Large Ronald D. Chateauneuf briefly left the room during a discussion about his appointment to the Planning Commission and the door automatically locked behind him. When he was called to come back into the meeting he had trouble opening the door, to which Cykowski said, “Where’s a Puerto Rican when we need one?”
On Dec. 21, 2011, Councilor Cykowski attempted to apologize to his fellow council members and those who were present at the City Council meeting, saying “I made a statement. If I offended anyone, I apologize." Cykowski failed to explain what he meant by the statement; failed to acknowledge that the statement was racist; and failed to admit to any wrong doing whatsoever. Essentially, he apologized for other people "misunderstanding" him-- not for the racist statement he made.
We cannot accept a city councilor who publicly (or privately) makes racist statements and potentially harbors racist sentiments toward Puerto Ricans and other people of color in our community. City Councilor Cykowski has shown no remorse for the statement he made nor has he shown any remorse for the negative impact the statement has had on people of color in our community. Cykowski's statement and feigned apology are beyond offensive. Such egregious behavior cannot, should not, and will not be tolerated from our local government officials.
Councilor-at-large Cykowski should publicly apologize and resign from his position immediately.