ELIZABETH, NJ - Mayor J. Christian Bollwage joined more than 200 mayors across the nation in signing a compact to "fight extremism and bigotry" in the wake of the deadly Charlottesville, Va., rally.
The Anti-Defamation League and The U.S. Conference of Mayors launched the initiative after protesters chanting white supremacist and neo-Nazi slogans over a week ago descended on the Viriginia city. James Alex Fields was reportedly charged in connection with the death of Heather Heyer, who died after a car plowed into her and other counter protesters in Virginia.
“Anyone carrying the Nazi flag and the American flag do not represent the values of this country,” Bollwage said in a statement today. “Tens of thousand of men and women gave their lives to defeat Nazism. It has no place in this country."
The compact has 10 components, which include denouncing "all acts of hatred," ensuring public safety while protecting free speech, and calls for prioritizing anti-bias and anti-hate programs in schools.
Ten other mayors in the state also signed the compact, including Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky and Kearny Mayor Alberto G. Santos.
Over 59 percent of Elizabeth's population identified as Hispanic or Latino origin as of 2010, which is the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau. (Hispanics can be of any race, as per the U.S. Census Bureau.) About 21 percent of the population in Elizabeth was Black or African American.
Earlier this year, Bollwage reportedly said he would not give Elizabeth "sanctuary city" status since it might put a target on unauthorized immigrants. He also said the city would need a warrant from any outside law enforcement before local police decide whether or not to give support.