In the aftermath of the storm that devastated parts of Delaware County last week and forced some municipalities to establish shelters to feed and house residents impacted by the event, a local activist and a township official have accused Brookhaven Borough officials and volunteers of being racist in the operation of that borough’s emergency efforts at its municipal building.
Church of the Overcomer Pastor Keith Collins and Chester Township Councilwoman Angela Prattis, on Monday at a press conference in front of Brookhaven Borough Hall, claimed three Toby Farms families were turned away from receiving emergency assistance in the wake of the June 23rd storm that left 107,000 Delaware County residents without power.
“We are all human beings and should be treated as such,” Prattis said.
Even though Toby Farms residents have a Brookhaven zip code, the community is not located in Brookhaven Borough, but rather is part of neighboring Chester Township.
Also attending the press conference were about 10 Toby Farms residents, representatives of Chester state Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, (D-159); Chester Township Councilman Calvin Bernard, who resides in Toby Farms; and other interested parties.
Toby Farms resident Cassandra Black, who is African-American, said was turned way by Brookhaven officials when she and her Caucasian foster children arrived at borough hall last Thursday morning to eat breakfast.
Brookhaven was hit extraordinarily hard during the violent storm that wrecked havoc on the county. Residents lost power for days, trees and power lines were downed and at least in two cases, the damage was so severe that homes had to be condemned.
Brookhaven was one of the only communities in the county to organize, and with assistance from borough officials and volunteers, served breakfast, lunch and dinner for several days; and offered assistance with telephone and computer charging, as well as other services.
Black said after being asked for her address, she was turned away on Thursday morning, told that she was not a Brookhaven resident.
Black made specific allegations against Brookhaven Police Chief Randy McGoldrick and Board of Health officer Cathy Warfield.
“They were very nasty,” Black said. “Never in my life have I seen people treat other people like that. Why is Toby Farms being singled out? It’s wrong. Toby Farms is put in a box because it’s mostly Black… This is blatant racism.”