Mohave County planning commissioner won’t be removed over racist Facebook posts

By: - August 9, 2019 4:04 pm

LaJuana Gillette, center, poses for a photo at a Republican event in Laughlin, Nevada, in 2018. Also pictured is Kelli Ward (left, in purple), the current chair of the Arizona Republican Party, and Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City (right, in tan). Photo via Facebook

A Republican on Mohave County’s Planning and Zoning Commission will continue to serve on the government board, despite calls for her removal after posting racist comments on Facebook last month.

On July 29, Gillette wrote on her Facebook page that America’s white and Christian identity was being threatened by immigrants.

“We must stop the minorities from coming here and trying to change us… If you drive thru (sic) Arvin (California) you would think you are in Mexico. All the signs in Mexican… We had better wake up before we lose America for our children and grand children (sic),” she wrote.

In another post, Gillette blamed racism in America on former President Barack Obama and black Americans, who she said “want to have things all black people no white people.”

“We have a country that is turning brown, which means that in no time at all white people will be in the minority,” she wrote.

In a follow-up comment on that Facebook post, Gillette wrote that most immigrants “are brown” and they are having more children than white Americans. She also blamed interracial marriages for the country “turning brown.”

A group of activists called on the Mohave County Board of Supervisors to remove LaJuana Gillette at the Aug. 5 board meeting.

Gillette can only be removed by Supervisor Ron Gould, who had appointed her. He said he has no plans to remove Gillette from the planning commission.

“I’m going to tell her to watch her choice of words. I’m not concerned about LaJuana shooting up a Walmart,” Gould said at the meeting, referring to the recent mass shooting in El Paso. 

The El Paso shooting suspect had made similar statements in his manifesto to those made by Gillette regarding immigrants and the changing demographic makeup of the country. State Sen. Sylvia Allen, a Republican from Snowflake, has come under fire for making similar comments.  

“I would really like for Supervisor Gould to step outside his party and really reflect on the deeper issue with these comments and address them from the standpoint of the community at-large,” J’aime Morgaine, a Mohave County resident and one of the activists at Monday’s meeting who advocated for Gillette’s removal, told Arizona Mirror.

“We need to start calling them on these racist and xenophobic talking points.”

Morgaine said Gillette isn’t just another community member, and should be held to a higher standard because she is a member of a governmental commission that is accountable to the entire county. 

“These beliefs have no place in city government, or county government, or state government,” Morgaine said. “It’s an inappropriate belief system to be guiding the Planning and Zoning Commission.

“It remains our hope that she will resign out of disgust or frustration.”

Morgaine said she is concerned about the overall climate in Mohave County, which she described as becoming increasingly inhospitable toward immigrants, people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Last July, Kingman, which is the seat of Mohave County, was in the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons when it was featured on comedian Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Who is America?” series on Showtime.

In that bit, Cohen elicits numerous racist and xenophobic comments from real Kingman residents attending a staged “town hall” to discuss the construction of a new mosque in Kingman. 

Though the mosque was fake, the Islamophobic comments made by the town hall attendees were very real.

This led to Kingman residents bemoaning the portrayal of their town as hostile and backward. Kingman Mayor Monica Gates spoke strongly against Cohen’s portrayal of the town.

“This was an attack on our community,” Gates told 12News. “The whole premise, I believe, was designed not just to expose bigotry, but to really elicit it. We all have people who are intolerant living in our communities, but it doesn’t reflect the community at large.”

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Parker Shea

Parker Shea joins the Arizona Mirror after recently graduating from Arizona State University, where he was editor-in-chief of State Press Magazine. He hopes to one day have a career reporting on issues related to the environment. He is a daily runner and enjoys exploring the Arizona wilderness.