The Berkeley Heights Diversity Council has respectfully requested to be removed from the “Mayor’s Advisory Committee for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation of Berkeley Heights” (TRHT) resolution passed at last night’s BH Town Council meeting as the process to date has been far from inclusive or collaborative, and is in direct contrast to the community the BHDC mission is aimed to create.
The Berkeley Heights Diversity Council is very disappointed by the course of events and the passing of this resolution at last night's Town Council meeting. The BHDC had asked for the resolution to be tabled and to be included in the drafting process, but neither occurred. The final draft of the resolution was never shared with the BHDC and it’s our understanding that it wasn’t finalized until after 7pm last night after the meeting started. Below is the email that the BHDC sent to the Mayor and Town Council today, as well as our previous email requesting that this resolution be tabled until we can all spend more time reviewing to make sure it includes the best plan for our town to move forward.
The BHDC was founded to honor and embrace the diverse cultures and perspectives within Berkeley Heights. Our goal is to spread awareness and inclusion. The way this resolution was drafted and passed does not demonstrate inclusiveness and did not demonstrate a welcoming dialogue. It also did not incorporate input and feedback from the BHDC, some members of the Town Council as well as numerous residents who voiced concern and opposition to this hasty resolution at the meeting. The meeting was recorded and we encourage residents to view it.
The BHDC will continue our work toward making Berkeley Heights the most welcoming and inclusive town in the state and we encourage all residents to join us. For more information about the BHDC, our mission and upcoming events, including open community listening sessions, please follow us on Facebook and sign up for our email distribution list.
The Executive Board of the Berkeley Heights Diversity Council
Damian Facey, Toiya Facey, Michelle Greco, Ayana Joseph, Jimmy Joseph and Pam Yoss
Email sent June 24, 2020
Good morning Mayor and Town Council,
As a follow up to the below email. We respectfully request that Berkeley Heights Diversity Council be removed from the resolution passed yesterday evening as the process to date has been far from inclusive and collaborative and is in direct contrast to the community our mission is aimed to create.
Email sent June 23, 2020
Dear Mayor and Town Council,
After review of the updated resolution we are not comfortable participating in the task force as currently defined.
We received this draft late Thursday evening. We had agreed that we would be given an opportunity to review it but we see that it was included on the agenda that was published on Friday.
As discussed in our June 12 meeting we would like to learn more about the programs implemented by the Kellogg Foundation and the partnership with Rutgers and their success in other communities with programs/advisories such as the one being proposed in Berkeley Heights.
We welcome further dialogue and ask that you please table this resolution so that we can work together to create a solution that helps Berkeley Heights continue to become a more welcoming and inclusive community.