A message to my Liberian brothers and sisters, don’t let the mayors of Hamilton, Ewing and Trenton divide us or put you in positions of compromise.

This tactic of misrepresenting the issues of racism and lack of accountability at Stone Terrace by John Henry’s owners John and Catherine Henry has almost nothing to do with Liberia.

Trenton Mayor Reid Gucioro offered the assessment before his visit to Hamilton’s Stone Terrace along with Ewing Mayor Bert Steinman and Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin. Three men were honored for their support of The Arc Mercer organization.

“I look forward to being recognized by Mercer ARC for working on behalf of the community of people with disabilities. I am especially excited that Mercer ARC will use the proceeds from the celebration to establish ARC’s first overseas office in Monrovia, Liberia, where 80% of people with developmental disabilities do not live to the age of five. Mercer ARC is partnering with the Capital Area Liberian community to take on this historic initiative. In January, I look forward to working with the Liberian Consulate to establish a sister city relationship with Monrovia.”

Whatever initiatives Gushiora creates with Liberia, it’s unlikely he can unexplainedly visit Stone Terrace, where the owners have done next to nothing to address the racism created by former co-owner and executive chef Joe Russo.

Russo’s infamous post on his website about Black Lives Matter*+t couldn’t keep Gushiora, Steinman and Martin off the Stone Terrace property.

In another attempt to frame black people, Gusiora is using Liberia as a cover. An investigation into his statement reveals that not a word was said about Stone Terrace’s racism issues, only that he attended for a personal tribute. All it takes is a shout-out to Oprah Winfrey for this affront to decency — Reed gets the award. Burt receives an award. And Jeff gets it too!

Racism metastasizes in silence, so any suggestion to let bygones be bygones reflects an unwillingness to deal with this destroyer of nations.

Before Gushiora can begin fraternizing with Monrovia, he must understand the disastrous historical ties that exist between Liberia, New Jersey, and the United States.

In 1816, the Garden State spearheaded the creation of the American Colonization Society, an effort to remove free blacks and slaves from US territory. Robert Finley, a Presbyterian minister from Basking Ridge, feared a growing number of blacks threatening the United States.

If Gushiori had a true relationship with Liberia, he would have thanked Timothy Weah, whose goal earned the American team a 1-1 draw against Wales in their World Cup opener. George Weah, his father, a former striker who played for Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan in the 1990s and won the Ballon d’Or in 1995, became the elected president of Liberia in 2017.

There is no argument here for improving the quality of life for Liberians here or in their homeland. These envisioned upgrades require Liberians to have conversations that shape their destiny. Perhaps Liberians might object to building a relationship with Trenton, especially since past US intervention has not improved life in the West African nation.

By the way, Gusciora deferred his response to the Trentonian’s email asking for comment on his visit to Stone Terrace. This act of silence and late arrival continues Gushiori’s desire to shape the conversation – up front on issues that demonize others, late to the party on issues with his leadership and behavior.

His mayoral campaign called two black opponents racist and homophobic, after which he set foot on Stone Terrace.

A reader of perceived opinions here intends to close John Henry’s Stone Terrace. No evidence exists for this absurd claim.

In fact, if the Henrys had taken immediate action to address this issue openly and honestly, we could be celebrating a sea change of race in Mercer County.

Instead, this problem exists as unfinished business, and until the leaders and owners of Stone Terrace face it, people will be watching who enters.

L.A. Parker is the Trentonian columnist. Find him on Twitter @LAParker6 or email him at LAParker@Trentonian.com.

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