Nassau's Asian American Advisory Council has called on county Legis. Siela Bynoe (D-Westbury) to apologize to the county Office of Asian American Affairs and the Asian community, in part for her vote in April against creation of the office.
Council secretary Ammad Sheikh wrote to legislative Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) on Sept. 23, asking that Bynoe "extend an apology" and meet with the council. The council advises the Asian American Affairs office, which serves as a bridge between county government and Asian Americans.
Bynoe was the only county lawmaker to vote against the office's formation. In a Sept. 26 letter to Sheikh, Bynoe expressed concern that the Asian American office, as structured, would "dilute the effectiveness" of the county Office of Minority Affairs, which seeks to increase the number of minority contractors Nassau hires.
Sheikh told Abrahams the Asian American Advisory Council held an emergency meeting Sept. 23 to request Bynoe's apology for "her antagonism towards the Asian community."
Sheikh said Bynoe, an African American, "communicated" to council chairwoman Isma Chaudhry that the Asian American Affairs Office charter "stood in opposition to the interests of 'her community' … "
Sheikh said, "actively favoring one minority community over another is a disservice to the office she holds."
Bynoe denied making the remark to Chaudhry.
Bynoe told Sheikh she had, "concerns about the details of the structure and role," of the Asian American Affairs office. Bynoe said her views about the office were, "not in any way indicative of 'favoring one minority community over another.'"
Last Thursday, Chaudhry wrote to Abrahams expressing concern about Bynoe's letter to Sheikh. But "in the interest of goodwill, at this juncture, we should respectfully agree to disagree on the statement of facts and events," Chaudhry said.
Abrahams said, “We take to heart what the South Asian, Pacific community has mentioned." But he said Bynoe, "represents the interests throughout her district. She takes much pride in that. Unfortunately, it escalated to letters and conversations, and so forth."