A statement from Erin Rosenberg, Andre Carson's campaign treasurer

Dateline: Sun 06 Jan 2008

Erin Rosenberg sent the following email Saturday, explaining the role between her friend Andre Carson, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and the late Rep. Julia Carson, Andre's grandmother. Andre Carson is one of a field of Democrats vying for the 7th District seat. Rosenberg is the treasurer for his campaign.

"Ruth,

"Julia Carson asked Louis Farrakhan to speak at the funeral. Andre had and has nothing whatsoever to do with that and certainly would not have overruled his grandmother on her own funeral wishes. Why did Julia want him to speak? I honestly don't know. Personally, I believe that she asked him to speak because, throughout her life, Julia Carson recognized the value and contributions of all people, even those with whom she strenuously disagreed. However, I do know 2 things for sure: a) Julia was not anti-semitic at all. b) Andre Carson is not anti-semitic at all. Both of those things I know absolutely. If you watched the funeral and saw Andre's speech, he stated immediately (I'm going to try to quote, though I may get it a little off)'My grandmother was a woman of faith, but she did not believe in religious bigotry. If she were here, she would address this crowd with "peace be with you, shalom and as-salaam aleikum". She was universal.'"

"At her calling, Andre's speech was that 'my grandmother was anti-bigotry. Anti-black bigotry and anti-white bigotry. Anti-gender bigotry. She was against anti-semitism and homophobia.' Andre spoke the truth about Julia in a dignified way that allowed those who wanted to claim her to keep their own version of who she was while ensuring that who she was to him (and me and many others) shined through. It was a class act both times and those words reflect absolutely not only who Julia was but who Andre is as well. I can not help but notice that I have yet to see anyone comment on Andre's own statement at either the funeral or the calling. Why is this? What he said was televised along with the other speakers. The truth is that the shameful accusations now being lodged against him cannot be reconciled with his own words. Words that he, and he alone, wrote. Words that he chose to say. I would encourage all of your readers to watch the videos of both events and evaluate what Andre Carson said.

"While certainly people can question why Julia Carson would have personally asked Louis Farrakhan to speak at her funeral, those questions must be viewed through the testament of her actions throughout her life- her voting record, her positions and her personal friendships. To me, whatever it was that she found commendable in Farrakhan, it was clearly not his homophobia or anti-semitism.

"What is truly wrong, however, is to somehow attempt to link Andre, who by simply respecting his grandmother's wishes has been subject to outright lies about his faith and beliefs, to Farrakhan. Andre Carson is not a member of Farrakhan's Nation of Islam. Andre Carson is a caring, open-minded and unbigoted person. This is not my opinion, but the simple truth demonstrated by his own statements, actions and beliefs- the very things that truly should be of relevance here. How should all people be judged? By the independent decisions of our grandparents? By the actions of others? I do not think so and I seriously doubt that is how those reading this would like to be judged.

"I did not ask Andre to comment on your post, but am writing as myself. Why? I do not want to insult my friend, Andre, by demanding that he explain that which I already know.

"All the best as always,

"Erin Rosenberg"

Erin, who is Jewish and has been a longtime Democrat activist, sent the following post script:

"I also want to correct a misstatement that has been made. It is not true that no one stood up and left when Farrakhan spoke. I did. I have no regrets about my decision to not listen to Mr. Farrakhan speak and I don't think it was disrespectful to Julia to leave the ceremony at that time. In fact, I believe that not only would she have not thought it was disrespectful, I think she would have completely understood."

Erin also wondered why the Star didn't ask more questions about the presence of Minister Farrakhan. No doubt he could have addressed why he was invited to the funeral, had anyone questioned him.

The Star reports this morning that the upcoming special election for the 7th District seat is confusing to candidates. Besides Andre Carson, two Dems have filed to seek the seat: Marion County treasurer Michael Rodman and Ice Miller attorney Randle Pollard. Other Dems who have expressed an interest, reports the Star's Brendan O'Shaughnessy, are state Reps. David Orentlichter, Carolene Mays and Gregory Porter; City-County Councilwoman Joanne Sanders, former party state chair Robin Winston and former health commish Woody Myers.

Thanks to Erin for sharing her insights with readers about Andre Carson's candidacy, her recollections of the funeral, and her own views on Minister Farrakhan's presence.

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