(ANAHEIM, CA, 9/20/2018) — The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today condemned the Republican Party of Orange County for its endorsement of Gracey Larrea-Van Der Mark, a candidate for the Ocean View School District board of trustees, despite her controversial history of making bigoted statements against African-Americans, curating a “Holocaust Hoax?” playlist on YouTube and promoting Islamophobic conspiracy theories via social media.
The OC Weekly reported Larrea-Van Der Mark, listed on the ballot under her married name as Gracey Van Der Mark, accompanied a group of right-wing protesters to a 2017 anti-racism workshop in Santa Monica. In a comment on a since-deleted YouTube video of the incident, the OC Weekly reported Larrea-Van Der Mark wrote, “This meeting was being ran by the elderly Jewish people who were in there. The colored people were there doing what the elderly Jewish people instructed them to do.”
The OC Weekly also found Larrea-Van Der Mark had created a playlist on YouTube dubbed, “Holocaust hoax?” that had several anti-Semitic videos, which included Holocaust revisionism. She would later deny being an anti-Semite, saying the playlist was for research purposes.
SEE: HB Finance Commissioner Called Blacks “Colored People” Online, Denies Antisemitism
On April 24, 2018, amid protests from civil rights groups and residents, Larrea-Van Der Mark was removed from the OVSD Measure R Citizens Oversight Committee and subsequently the Huntington Beach City School District Measure Q Bond Oversight Committee. She kept her appointed position on the Huntington Beach Finance Commission.
SEE: Ocean View School District removes committee member over ”˜colored people’ comment on YouTube
In a since-deleted post in a Latinos/Hispanics for Donald Trump Facebook group on March 29, 2017, Larrea-Van Der Mark referenced an Islamophobic blog slamming “Access Islam,” a United States Department of Education program for school teachers looking to offer lesson plans on the religion of Islam.
“. . .It is taught in our public schools to indoctrinate our kids. . .No other religion has such a program other than Islam. This is indoctrination,” she wrote.
Larrea-Van Der Mark announced her candidacy for the OVSD Board on Aug. 11 on her Facebook page.
SEE: Gracey Van Der Mark, Peddler of Racist Conspiracies, Runs for School Board in HB
Despite her controversial history, the OC GOP Endorsements Committee unanimously recommended her for endorsement on Sept. 5, 2018, even though there are two other Republican incumbents in the race. Her recommendation was approved earlier this week.
SEE: Live from OC GOP Endorsements Committee Round 5
“It is unconscionable that the OC GOP would endorse a candidate who has proven herself to be an equal-opportunity bigot,” said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. “That the OC GOP would make Ms. Larrea-Van Der Mark its sole endorsed candidate in this race — especially over other Republican candidates — is both shocking and telling of the message the party is sending to its constituency.”
A statewide report on school bullying found that 53 percent of 1,041 Muslim students in California surveyed were bullied over their religion in 2016.
“At a time when biased-driven school bullying is at an all-time high, the last thing our schools need is a bully and a bigot setting the vision and goals of a school district,” said Ayloush. “I am extremely disappointed that the leadership of the Orange County Republican Party would endorse such a divisive candidate. I hope the voters will send a clear message that bigotry and ignorance have no place in our schools.”
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misiÃ³n de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR-LA Communications Manager Eugene W. Fields, 714-776-1847 or firstname.lastname@example.org