Press Releases

CAIR-Georgia Calls for Mayor of Hoschton and City Councilman to Resign After Racist Remarks

(ATLANTA, GA, 5/6/2019) — The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called for Hoschton Mayor Theresa Kenerly and Councilman Jim Cleveland to resign in the wake of racist remarks made by both city officials.

According to a report in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mayor Kenerly rejected a qualified African-American candidate for the position of city administrator, allegedly telling a member of the City Council she did so “because he is black, and the city isn’t ready for this.”

SEEGeorgia Mayor Under Fire For Remark About Black Job Candidate

In response to the incident, City Councilman Jim Cleveland defended the mayor, noting that Hoschton is “a predominantly white community,” and saying, “I don’t know how they would take it if we selected a black administrator. She might have been right.”

Cleveland also made racist remarks of his own: “I’m a Christian and my Christian beliefs are you don’t do interracial marriage. That’s the way I was brought up and that’s the way I believe. I have black friends, I hired black people. But when it comes to all this stuff you see on TV, when you see blacks and whites together, it makes my blood boil because that’s just not the way a Christian is supposed to live.”

In a statement, CAIR-Georgia Executive Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell said:

“The fact that Hoschton is a predominantly white community located fifty miles away from Atlanta does not matter. The law applies to Hoschton, just the same as the law applies to every other city in Georgia. Rejecting a qualified African-American candidate because of the very fact that he is African-American is as illegal as it is immoral.”

“This is 2019, not 1969. Racism has no place in the discourse of any city government, much less its hiring decisions. Both Mayor Kenerly and Councilman Cleveland should apologize, resign, and meet with impacted community members in order to grow as human beings.”

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

– END –

CONTACT: Edward Ahmed Mitchell, 404-285-9530,


Share on facebook
Share on twitter