MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair leader James Harris has issued an apology for his remarks made at a December 30th community meeting.

Harris is the chairperson for the Montclair NAACP and the president of New Jersey Association of Black Educators (NJABE). During the forum, he stated that he was speaking on behalf of NJABE, not the NAACP.

He stated, "I condemn the recent violence in Jersey City, NJ, Monsey, NY and all of the recent hate crimes against the Jewish communities. I offer my condolences. I would like to express my sincere regret and apologize for the remarks I made about the Hasidic community and the development of Montclair, NJ."

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During the meeting, Harris was rebuked by Rabbi David Greenstein after making remarks about Hasidic Jews. Residents have been at odds on social media since and Mayor Robert Jackson issued a statement to express that a meeting will take place among religious leaders Monday.

He added, "My personal statement was meant to focus on the impact of gentrification on lower socioeconomic communities in Montclair, NJ. Instead, I used a regional example of Lakewood, NJ real estate and public education funding. Unfortunately I used terms and examples that have been interpreted as anti-Semitic."

Below is a copy of Harris' entire statement:

Dear Fellow Montclarians:

 

I condemn the recent violence in Jersey City, NJ, Monsey, NY and all of the recent hate crimes against the Jewish communities. I offer my condolences. I would like to express my sincere regret and apologize for the remarks I made about the Hasidic community and the development of Montclair, NJ.

 

I indicated during my speech that I was not speaking on behalf of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People(NAACP).

My whole life has been devoted to civil rights and promotion of justice and equity for all people. I abhor violence against any community.

 

My personal statement was meant to focus on the impact of gentrification on lower socioeconomic communities in Montclair, NJ. Instead, I used a regional example of Lakewood, NJ real estate and public education funding. Unfortunately I used terms and examples that have been interpreted as anti-Semitic.

My statements were in no way connected to or reflections of views and values held by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People(NAACP) or the New Jersey Association of Black Educators(NJABE).

 

I will remain dedicated to working for equal; rights and justice for all residents of Montclair. I respectfully ask that everyone please accept my apology.

 

Sincerely,

 

James E. Harris

 

 

 

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