Debbie Spend It Now
Debbie Spend It Now

Leaders of Michigan’s civil rights organizations have reiterated their call on former Congressman Pete Hoekstra to immediately drop a television ad caricaturing Asians and to take down the “Debbiespenditnow” website.

The ad was first aired during Super Bowl game held last Feb. 5.

The leaders aired the call through a joint statement issued by Prasanna Vengadam, American Citizens for Justice; Jerilyn Church, American Indian Health and Family Services; Nadia Tonova, ACCESS; Stephanie Gray Chang, Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote–Michigan; Rev. Wendell Anthony, Detroit Branch, NAACP; Lawrence Garcia, Hispanic/Latino Commission of Michigan; Sook Wilkinson, Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission; and Rev. Charles Williams, National Action Network.

Filipino-American organizations led by the Filipino-American Community Council (FILAMCCO) also reacted indignantly on Hoekstra’s ad and issued similar statements.

The leaders also urged other candidates to refrain from exploiting people’s fears by using racial and ethnic stereotypes in their campaigns.

The joint statement also said: “At every level of American society, African Americans, Arab Americans, Asian/Pacific Islander Americans, Latino/Hispanic Americans and Native American/American Indians contribute to our nation’s culture and economy.

These communities are also voting in record numbers and are engaging in democracy and elections in many ways and at all levels.

Many of our organizations already have plans under way to register and mobilize underrepresented voters for the election day on Nov. 6, 2012.

“Simple common decency and respect suggest that all candidates who aspire to represent citizens as elected officials refrain from remarks that, intentional or not, are offensive.”