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Gutierrez Reacts To Racist Twitter Attacks On President and Mrs. Obama by Sr Puerto Rico Official

Gutierrez Reacts To Racist Twitter Attacks On President and Mrs. Obama by Sr Puerto Rico Official

Photo: Luis Guiterrez

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Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL-4) wrote President and Mrs. Obama a letter on Wednesday expressing his outrage at a racist Tweet attributed to the top Advisor to the Speaker of the House in Puerto Rico.  He also wrote the Speaker calling for the advisor’s termination.  In the letter to the Obamas, the Congressman, a Chicago-born Puerto Rican, said:

As a Puerto Rican, I believe it is appropriate to share with you my outrage regarding this message.  I want you to know that I have called for Ms. Wys to be removed immediately from any position, formal or informal, that she holds with the government of Puerto Rico.  Sentiments like this simply cannot be tolerated, and the Puerto Rican leaders responsible for her employment should act without hesitation. 

On July 26, Heidi Anne Wys, Advisor to Speaker Jennifer González, responded to a twitter picture posted by the President celebrating the First Lady’s birthday, with the outrageous comment, “Who cares?  Take her to Burger King, buy her a sundae with double banana, take her to your homeland, Kenya!”  It has received extensive coverage, especially in Puerto Rico, including the Associated Press, El Nuevo Día and Noticel.  A screen capture of the original tweet and Heidi Wys’ response is available here.

The Congressman’s letter to the President and First Lady continues:

I feel confident that I speak for all Puerto Ricans when I tell you that we reject this type of language, opinion and behavior.  The Puerto Rican people have a long history of being the victims of racism, discrimination and violence.  We also have a proud history of working to overcome these obstacles and fighting for positive change.  We have marched with civil rights leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King and consistently promoted a message of fairness, tolerance and understanding.  I want you to know the deep regret I feel that any Puerto Rican would publicly convey such a hateful message.

In the letter to Speaker González, Congressman Gutierrez writes, (in Spanish):

Given recent reports regarding the racist and unacceptable message your advisor Heidi Wys sent President Barack Obama through Twitter, I respectfully demand her immediate dismissal from any position she may hold with the Puerto Rico House of Representatives. (Translation by the Congressman’s office).

The Letter to President and Mrs. Obama is here: LINK

The Letter to Speaker González (in Spanish) is here: LINK