Toni Beckham


-- Refuses DNA and Refers to the Child as "That Monkey" --

African Americans have experienced discrimination by whites in this country for several hundred years, but a new discriminating culprit has come to light - one who is not even a natural U.S. citizen.

Atlantic City, NJ ( - According to 23-year-old African American mom, Krystal Surrency, Ellijah - the baby boy to whom she gave birth on June 4, 2003 - was fathered by Jason Salemah, a Palestinian-American with whom she had resided for two years. Proud to be a dad and happy that Krystal had given him his first-born son, Jason acknowledged and accepted paternity from the moment Krystal told him of her pregnancy. However, the baby's maternal grandfather SFC Gary Surrency, US Army Retired, said that upon learning of his daughter's condition, Jason's father Salebe' Salemah - a wealthy Palestinian immigrant and self-proclaimed Christian - exclaimed, "I'll not have that monkey in my family!" Krystal overheard Salemah make the comment to his son. "Mr. Salemah also said to Jason, "You always go to the hood and bring back hood rats" - referring me," Krystal remarked.

When his son was alive, Salemah consented to allow a DNA paternity test under the condition that he would not be responsible for the cost. Krystal agreed to have her infant tested and her parents endorsed the procedure and offered to pay for it so that the matter could be settled once and for all. Later, Salemah forbade his son to take the test, threatening to disinherit him.

Jason died in his sleep on Memorial Day 2005 of unknown causes, at least unknown to Krystal and her influential parents as Jason's father has kept autopsy results from them. Additionally, in spite of Salebe' Salemah's wife's desire to learn if she has a grandson, he now  refuses to take the DNA test while claiming that Krystal's intent is to extort money from him.

Sgt. Surrency, who retired from the United States Army after having served 20 years, and his wife Millie are Krystal's parents and proud grandparents of Ellijah. They are long-time advocates for displaced children. For more than ten years they have taken in and helped to guide troubled kids. Stressing the importance of education, they have assisted several young people with college expenses. Sgt. and Mrs. Surrency were named among "Who's Who in America" in 2003 and 2004 and "Who's Who in the World" in 2003. The Rosa Parks Society and Southern Poverty Law Center will place their names on the Montgomery, Alabama "Wall of Tolerance" in November 2005 in recognition of their contributions to the advancement of tolerance in America.

The Surrencys have chosen to not only bring the parental dispute to public attention, but the hardcore bigoted attitude of the Palestinian immigrant, who is himself a minority in this country who should be grateful for the privilege of residing here. Sgt. Surrency said, "His comments sound like and sting just like those made by many whites in the "Old" and not so "Old South. The man is a racist who should be ashamed of his own behavior, not ashamed to have a black grandson."

Also grandparents to another mixed-raced child (Caucasian/African American), the Surrencys make no ethnic distinctions with respect to decision making of any kind. "I am quite angry and frustrated," commented Sgt. Surrency. "Not only does Mr. Salemah deny his grandson for racist reasons, but he derives a good deal of his wealth from blacks and other minority patrons."  Mr. Salemah operates several family-owned businesses including a number of "The Sheik" fast-food restaurants, according to Surrency.

Surrency said, "We neither need nor want the Salemah's money. We simply want him to acknowledge his son's son, and allow the baby to know his father's side of the family." He continued, "My wife and I are more than willing to pay for the DNA test, but Mr. Salemah will not agree to it because he is afraid that it will prove that he the grandparent of a black child."  Sgt. Gary and Millie Surrency have taken initial steps in the procedure to adopt their grandson to ensure he will have basic benefits like health insurance, and in order that they may provide for his financial future.