Southampton rallies after board candidate used racial slur

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SOUTHAMPTON -

A Southampton community rallied Monday against racist comments made by a village board candidate.

Nearly 100 protesters packed the steps outside the Southampton Arts Center to send a message to village trustee candidate Valerie Smith and her use of the N-word.

An audio recording captured Smith using the slur in a call to police last August. In the days following the release of the tape, Smith defended her use of the slur to 27east.com. She told a reporter that she is entitled to use the slur because she's a pioneer as the first white person to buy a home in the minority community of Hillcrest, and she said she is now running for village board to help her neighborhood.

"I'm surprised that she's running," Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said at the rally. "I'm surprised that she hasn't stepped aside...because she continues to be a divisive force."

Though Smith posted an apology to her Facebook page last Thursday, many residents said the damage had been done.

Smith participated in a debate at the Southampton Arts Center Monday night. News 12 tried to speak with her about using the slur, but she repeatedly dodged the question.

As Smith's opponents left the debate, they said they would organize a grassroots effort to get more voters to the polls June 16 to prevent Smith from getting elected.

"I hope she gets soundly trounced," said Eastern Long Island NAACP President Lucius Ware.

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