A District 87 school board candidate apparently suspended his campaign Friday after his history of posting racist and misogynist content to social media came to light.
Jon Reed was one of five candidates running for four District 87 board seats in the April 6 election.
A group identifying itself as District 87 students, parents and residents released a video on social media Friday documenting Reed's online behavior. The offensive content was especially troubling as he tried to win a policymaking role in a district where over half of the students are nonwhite.
The website TheRealJonReed.com launched Friday morning. By Friday evening, Reed said on social media that he was suspending his campaign. His campaign's Facebook page was taken down.
"As the events of the day have unfolded, I have been very introspective, and want to apologize for any comments or posts that may have offended," Reed wrote. "As of today, I am no longer campaigning for the school board in Dist 87....my campaigning does nothing but cause a distraction for the parents, students and faculty as District 87 strives to excel in moving forward."
It's unclear how that decision will impact the actual ballot. Early voting began Friday in Bloomington.
Those behind the TheRealJonReed.com campaign also criticized Bloomington City Council candidate Nick Becker for supporting Reed. Becker put one of Reed's political signs in his yard.
By Friday afternoon, Becker tried to distance himself from Reed in a Facebook post:
"The short answer is that I do not endorse any of the statements made or the implications of the statements or posts of Jon Reed. These statements/posts are antithetical to my beliefs and values, and do not represent in any way my deep respect for our community and my approach to governing.
Mistakenly, I did allow his sign in my yard based on a single conversation about the schools when I met him in February. When questioned about his sign in my yard which isn't in district 87, I said that I was happy to have it and repeated its slogan about two good men.
I apologize for both mistakes above and for not doing better research.
All this being said, I will not change or reduce my efforts to serve Bloomington. Those that know and support me know who I am and that linking me to any of these ideals is 100% false."
Becker is running in Ward 5 on the city's near-east side. His opponent is Patrick Lawler, part of the progressive People First Coalition.
"Expressing support for one of the most open bigots in our community is just not a mistake that a potential Council Member should be making, especially one touting 'experienced leadership,'" Lawler wrote on Facebook.
The NAACP of Bloomington Normal also strongly criticized Reed’s posts.
“Reed’s comments clearly show that we are not living in a post-racial society. For those who claim that racism does not exist, we beg to differ, as the evidence proves otherwise,” said chapter President Linda Foster in a news release Saturday. “Not only did we expect Reed to resign, but he also needs to begin the reconciliation process by communicating with all marginalized groups and citizens who were deeply offended by his revolting comments.”
The group went on to characterize the posts as exuding vitriol, bigotry, disrespect and disdain for the African American community, the LGBTQ+ community and for women.
“The systemic racism experienced by African Americans, on a daily basis, is undeniable and unacceptable. Corporations and individuals who claim racism, bigotry and discrimination are figments of the imagination are woefully and fallaciously misguided,” said chapter 1st vice President Carla Campbell-Jackson.
Foster said the group will hold every organization and every politician completely accountable for their actions. “The time is now for organizations, politicians and public safety officers to realize that we will expose their wrong-doings and that we demand expect swift and long-term remediation,” said Foster.
(Editor's note: This story has been updated to include comments from the NAACP)
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