Other NJ News

Somerville Rally Decries Racism, Bigotry; Speakers Urge Resolve to Unite and Overcome

73959e07d2c7160232c2_sompixrallytulsi.JPG
Dr. Tulsi Maharjan, wearing sunglasses, with members of the Somerset County Cultural Diversity Coalition, speaks at Monday's rally in Somerville. Credits: Rod Hirsch
b90c437eb77c7b76136b_sompixrallysomervillegroup828.JPG
From left, Somerville resident Art Adair; Somerville Mayor Brian Gallagher, Rev. Paul Janssen, Somerville Borough Council president Steve Peter, Rev. Ron Pollock and Rep. Leonard Lance. Credits: Rod Hirsch
014c6c620999dadb4be9_sompixrallygallagher.JPG
Somerville Mayor Brian Gallagher addresses the rally from the steps of the historic Somerset County Courthouse in Somerville. Credits: Rod Hirsch
5f3550408fbc29be2340_sompixrallycrowd.JPG
Part of the crowd at Monday night's Community for Unity rally in Somerville. Credits: Rod Hirsch
130009b5869a18ebad38_sompixrallypollock.JPG
Rev. Ron Pollock, pastor of St. John's Episcopal Church in Somerville, offers a prayer during Monday's rally. Credits: Rod Hirsch
718b04173eca20371fcc_sompixrallylance.JPG
New Jersey Rep. Leonard Lance, R-7th Credits: Rod Hirsch
efb1e4f510c2a28ca320_sompixrallyzwicker.JPG
State Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, D-16th Credits: Rod Hirsch
f757f1ccddb5b6dc594c_sompixrallyhebamacksoud.JPG
Heba Macksoud, board member of the Islamic Society of Central New Jersey addresses the Somerville rally. Credits: Rod Hirsch
76b84afe42a8d1e4227c_sompixrallybateman.JPG
State Sen. Raymond "Kip" Bateman (R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Mercer). Credits: Rod Hirsch
d2dbe8889d689dd4d97f_sompixrallyjanssen__1_.JPG
Rev. Paul Janssen, pastor of the United Reformed Church in Somerville addresses the rally in Somerville Monday night. Credits: Rod Hirsch
73959e07d2c7160232c2_sompixrallytulsi.JPG

SOMERVILLE, NJ - They came from different walks of life, different cultures, from different sides of the political aisle and different houses of worship.

Some were immigrants, some black, some white, some were Asian and Latino.

Others were gay.

Sign Up for E-News

Men and women, young and old, different from one another but for one common bond - all were Americans.

Several hundred people attended Monday night's "Community for Unity Rally - a Call to Action" at the historic Somerset County Courthouse where they heard more than one dozen speakers decry racism, bigotry and hatred while underscoring the need for decency, respecting different cultures, different political persausions, different religions and differences of opinion.

The speakers were united in their urgency to stand up to those who feel and act otherwise. 

Much of the dialogue echoed on the themes of tolerance and inclusion, peaceful dissent and civil justice espoused by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The rally celebrated the 54th anniversary of King's defining "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

Speakers included Dr. Tulsi Maharjan, Somerset County Cultural Diversity Coalition; State Sen. Christopher "Kip" Bateman, R-16; Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, D-16th; Joe Forte - secretary of the. NJ LGBT Democratic Caucus Victory Fund Campaign Board; M. Ali Chaudry - president, Islamic Society of Basking Ridge and co-Founder, NJ Interfaith Coalition; Rabbi Dan Selsberg, Temple Sholom; Ron Isaacs, Rabbi Emeritus.Temple Sholom; Mark Williams, member AACT-NOW; Karen Gaffney - Professor of English, Raritan Valley Community College and author of soon-to-be-released, "Dismantling the Racism Machine: A Manual and Toolbox;" Carina Gonzalez, Outreach Librarian and professor at RVCC; Aldo Martinez, immigration attorney; Rev. Paul Janssen, United Reform Church; Rev. Ron Pollock, St. John's Episcopal Church; Heba Macksoud, Islamic Society of Central Jersey and New Jersey Rep. Leonard Lance, R-7th.
 
The rally organizers - Kristen Mehrbach, Donna Volpe, Andrea Stathatos, Michelle Edgar, Karen Gaffney and Jen Kitchen - were moved by the violence in Charlottesville, Va., earlier this month and felt the need to bring people together to repudiate the actions of the Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists who grabbed the headlines and dominated the news cycle.
 
Isaacs set the tone for Monday night's rally reading from "We Will Not Yield," a prayer after Charlottesville:

"Today, I am neither Democrat nor Republican, Neither left nor right, nor center.

I am an American, Born to a legacy of truth and justice, Born to a legacy of freedom and equality.

Today, I am a Patriot, who will not yield this nation to hate.

Not to Neo-Nazis, Not to thugs self-styled as militia. Not to slogans or chants. Not to gestures or flags. Not to threats and not to violence.

Hate is hate, Ugly and brutal, and we will not yield.

Today I am a Christian, Muslim and Jew, Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh, Atheist and agnostic.

I am Asian, Latino, Hispanic, African-American, White, Native American and multi-racial.

I am an immigrant, a child of the American Revolution, a veteran and a soldier. I work in the dark depth of the mines and the high towers of Wall Street, in the factories and the farms.

I am gay, lesbian, straight, bi, trans, Man, woman and gender-neutral. I am young, old, blind and deaf, Hearing and sighted, Disabled, Powerful and unafraid.

Truth is truth, That all are created equal, and we will not yield.

Today, I am an American, a citizen of the United States, A child of this great Democracy, A child of this wise republic, Dedicated to liberty, Dedicated to action.

We will not yield."

 

 

 

 

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Milltown/Spotswood

City Outlines $340K Parks Improvement Project, Plans To Create One More

June 20, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - City officials today outlined plans to improve to four municipal parks - at a cost of nearly $340,000 - and announced plans for creation of another park on a lot where previously there stood three abandoned homes.

Mayor James Cahill’s office said the city council tonight will consider resolutions allocating $150,000 for an agreement with the private, non-profit agency ...

Thousands Expected in Hillsborough for Sourland Music Festival

June 20, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – The Sourland Music Festival will be held Saturday, June 23 from 3-10 p.m. at the Hillsborough Golf & Country Club at 146 Wertsville Road, rain or shine, to benefit the Sourland Conservancy.

Discounted advance-sale tickets are available online only, Children under 12 are admitted free.

“We’ve got a really powerful lineup of the region’s most ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, July 14, 10:00 AM

Maplewood Memorial Library, Maplewood

Bag-of-Books Sale - Friends of Maplewood Library

Wed, July 25, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sings Conclude with Verdi ...

What Do TSA Officers Want Travelers To Know?

June 20, 2018

RICHMOND, VA  – You come to an airport checkpoint hoping to catch your flight and arrive at your destination safely and on time. Seems simple enough, but sometimes something you weren’t expecting comes up at the checkpoint and it slows you down.

Meet Deborah Simms and Ryan Seymour, Transportation Security Administration officers at Richmond International Airport (RIC).

Third-annual Juneteenth Parade and Heritage Festival in New Brunswick this Weekend

June 13, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The Vulcan Pioneers of New Brunswick, comprising the city's Black Fire Fighters Association, will host the Juneteenth Parade on Saturday, June 16 to commemorate the Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth celebrations are held across the country to mark the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas in June 1865. That state was one of the last locations to learn of ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)

 

A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...