Political newcomer Juanita Aikens is vying for a seat on Geneva’s City Council. The Democrat would represent Ward 6 if elected in November.
Aikens, the founder and president of the Ontario County Justice Coalition, leader of the East Lakeview Neighborhood Association and a board member on the Ontario County Youth Court.
With the resurgence and reemergence of swastikas and white supremacist sentiments scattered across Geneva through acts of vandalism and graffiti, Aikens advocates that press-release blatantly label those acts as hate crimes but also investigated with that classification under consideration.
“I have a zero tolerance for hate crimes in any capacity and that’s the level that I wish my Chief of Police would have,” she said.
After communicating with several state law enforcement agencies through coordinating the inaugural Police and Community Relations Summit, Aikens believes that those agencies have a distinct pattern and protocol to handle hate crime investigations, unlike the Geneva Police Department.
“The offensiveness needs to be taken seriously and it should never be treated as simply vandalism or graffiti. They are hate crimes and need be addressed consistently,” Aikens added.
Aikens reflects on her humble beginnings in creating the Ontario County Justice Coalition as a non-profit but also joining the United Christian Leadership Ministry of Western N.Y. in Rochester as a sister organization alongside the Reverend Lewis W. Stewart.
“We have to strive to meet the needs of the people,” she continued.
Listen to the full-conversation with Aikens below:
The Ontario County Justice Coalition seeks to establish justice, equality and unity and Aikens hopes to bring forth a police accountability board to Geneva that would allow the public to have input on police actions, if elected.
“We have been voiceless long enough. I am not above you. I am with you and we can make change if we stand together; and that is the only way that change is going to be accomplished,” Aikens concluded.
Editor’s Note: Special thanks to WEOS and WHWS Station Manager Greg Cotterill for sharing Geneva Candidate Snapshots with FingerLakes1.com.
– Reporting & Photos by Gabriel Pietrorazio
An undergraduate student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Pietrorazio has written for the Town Times of Watertown, Connecticut and Finger Lakes Times in Geneva, New York. He’s currently a reporter for FL1 News, and can be reached at [email protected].