MINEOLA - Nassau County Democrats rallied outside Monday’s Legislative meeting to demand the resignation of Democratic Legislator Ellen Birnbaum.
The junior lawmaker allegedly made racially insensitive comments about African-Americans and the neighborhood surrounding the Yes We Can Community Center in New Cassel. Birnbaum allegedly said, "This is a bad neighborhood because African-Americans live there. Very few people would want to go there."
Kevan Abrahams, the Democratic leader in the Nassau Legislature, says three staff members overheard Birnbaum make the derogatory comments.
Community members inside the legislative meeting also asked for her to step down.
“The 12,000 African Americans who live in New Cassel no longer have the trust or confidence in you or any vote you render in this Legislature,” said one community member.
Birnbaum says she was talking about how the community center was under-utilized and wasn't carefully watching her words. She says she doesn't want to resign.
“I would welcome the chance to rebuild and regain the trust I have lost in people,” Birnbaum told News 12.
Her fellow Democratic Party lawmakers have kicked her out of the Democratic caucus and stripped her of her committee assignments.
For extended footage from the rally, watch the clip to the left or go to News 12 Extra on Optimum TV channel 612.