Law & Justice

Wave of Protests Increase Around Montclair

8fbd4bc0a7409ccc9a18_IMG_1034.JPG
Credits: Natalie Heard Hackett
1e3c0ec478381eecfa29_protest.3.jpg
Credits: Courtesy of Armando Diaz
318d169a60b2b6e257af_police.car_and_protesters..jpg
Credits: Courtesy of Armando Diaz
628cd6a7578d98db5735_DSC_0758.JPG
Credits: Natalie Heard Hackett
bd29cffed3629755ba80_IMG_1035.JPG
Credits: Natalie Heard Hackett
e0e37a7cc856f934f534_IMG_1033.JPG
Credits: Natalie Heard Hackett
07e18895d3feaf157e87_DSC_0765.JPG
Credits: Natalie Heard Hackett
050166ca20a17502d054_protest.2.jpg
Credits: Courtesy of Armando Diaz
8fbd4bc0a7409ccc9a18_IMG_1034.JPG

MONTCLAIR, NJ – Peaceful protests and candlelight vigils have increased in Montclair during the past few weeks. An hour before the tree lighting ceremony was set to begin on Friday, over 50 protesters gathered in the cold and rain holding signs and candles in protest of the grand jury's decision in the Eric Garner case not to indict a responding police officer.

The Garner case received national attention and garnered criticism of police tactics and accusations of institutional racism when a bystander released a cell phone recording of an interaction between Garner and police officers in New York. Garner, who is black, was accused of selling loose cigarettes by officers, who were white. Garner was killed in an altercation with police when a choke hold was used against him. On December 3, a grand jury decided not to indict the officer involved, a decision that drew criticism from the national media and touched off a wave of protests. Garner left behind a wife and six children.

The decision came less than a week after a grand jury found no criminality in the actions of Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year old black man in Ferguson, Mo.

Sign Up for E-News

In both cases, some Montclair residents have expressed outrage and frustration, including on social media. While some responded by asking for a reinstatement of the Conversations on Race Program or another open dialogue, others have taken to the streets around town to voice their concerns.

Attendees on Friday were asked to gather in Montclair with signs that asked for social justice or pay tribute to Garner.

BlueWaveNJ organizers issued the following statement, “At the close of another heartbreaking week, we are saddened to be writing again to express our disappointment and frustration with a system of justice that increasingly appears to many to be failing in the equal application of justice. Whether it be Florida, in Ferguson, and now close to home in Staten Island, we are watching with sadness, with anger, with outrage as too many young and black lives are lost to violence, and justice is not forthcoming. 

Our thoughts are with their families, communities and with those who continue to bear the burden of an unequal system and to suffer the costly consequences of unequally applied justice.  We will continue to support those calling for change in the system and hope our members and friends will join us in the fight for a more just and equitable society for all.  Over the next several weeks we hope to announce additional actions and events that you can take part in.  We hope you will add your voice to this unfolding conversation and join us in sending the message that black lives matter, that all lives are of value and should be equal in the eyes of our justice system.”

October 23

Prior to the ruling in the Ferguson Case, protesters gathered on October 23 at the Church Street Apex to demonstrate. They stood alongside the solidarity singers from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation and sang and gave speeches. The group of about 75 sang, “Justice for Mike Brown, Lord, Justice for Mike Brown…”

November 25

Then on Nov. 25, one day after the St. Louis grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Wilson, BlueWaveNJ organizers teamed up with the Undoing Racism Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair to lead a Silent Candlelight Vigil in Church Street Plaza in response to the grand jury'sdecision.  In that protest, participants were invited to join in a “peaceful yet forceful action for justice.” Organizers said, “We are a gentle, angry people. And we are standing for our lives...."

BlueWaveNJ organizers said, “We are deeply saddened and disappointed by what appears to be the unequal application of justice -  first by the police action and now by the judicial process - as seen in the Ferguson Missouri grand jury's decision not to return an indictment in the death of Michael Brown yesterday. We stand with their families and with those who continue to be unfairly victimized by an unequal and often unjust system and continue to suffer the terrible consequences of unequally applied justice.  We will continue to support those fighting for change in the system and will continue to work for a more just and equitable society for all.”

December 3

On December 3, over a hundred Montclair High School students of various nationalities gathered in the amphitheater locking arms and holding signs that read, “Black Lives Matter.” A sign on the wall behind them read, “MHS in Solidarity.” Students also spoke and at one point paused to ask all of the African American males to raise their hands in the surrender position.

December 4

Montclair Police Sgt. Tyrone Williams, who is also the President of Sentinels 16 minority police officers organization, teamed up with Roxanne Kent and the Union Congregational Church to bring together 100 community leaders that included Mayor Jackson, the entire council and Montclair Police Chief Sabagh to view a private stage reading entitled Uniform Justice, with the idea of jumpstarting a conversation about positive police-community relations.

Co-Organizer Kent stated, “We invite you to join in our effort to start a conversation to build greater engagement and communication between our police forces and the community they serve. We need all voices at the table.” The Montclair police Department has also been proactive with their community policing initiative and Coffee with a Cop program where the public is able to interact with officers in a positive light.

December 5

In front of Renaissance School on Friday morning, during parent drop-off, yet another group of protesters gathered on the corner near the school holding signs. On Friday evening,  over 50 protesters peacefully gathered in front of the holiday tree lighting. Some elected officials, such as Councilor Renee Baskerville and Freeholder-elect Britnee Timberlake, also joined in solidarity with the protesters.

Other vigils, teach-ins and forums have been scheduled around town for the coming weeks and months through various organizations in Montclair.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Montclair

Those Boarded-Up Homes in the West Ward? Newark Has a Plan for Them.

July 20, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - The city is using the power of eminent domain to reduce the number of condemned homes and vacant lots scattered throughout the West Ward.

The redevelopment plan for the West Ward was introduced in 2016 and encompasses properties from the border of Irvington to South 13th Street between South Orange Avenue and 16th Avenue. One of the main goals of the plan is to support new ...

Rutgers Prof to Climb Alps for Climate Change Study on Glaciers

July 20, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Lauren Neitzke Adamo has long enjoyed hiking along trails and through forests and over rock formations largely to see the natural surroundings.

“I’ve been a huge science nerd all my life,” said Adamo, who has a doctorate degree and is co-director of the Rutgers University Geology museum in New Brunswick.

Next month Adamo will head to the Swiss Alps ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, July 22, 9:00 AM

Griggstown Grasslands Preserve, Princeton

NJ Audubon: Butterflies and Birds at the ...

Education Green

Sun, July 22, 2:00 PM

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Moths and Other Pollinators

Education Green Home & Garden

Carousel_image_6e5362f4c31ad94d17b9_hunchback_graphic.fb_event_banner

Sun, July 22, 2:00 PM

SOPAC, South Orange

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Arts & Entertainment

To Our Current and Future Representatives

July 18, 2018

To Our Current and Future Representatives - Wherever They May Be:

We can never forget we are a nation of immigrants. 

We cannot fall prey to fear, ignorance and anger when we  have been historically driven by freedom and justice. 

We must have the courage and will to fight hate, bigotry and prejudice. 

We must not wake up to what we hoped was a bad dream and ...

Montclair Police Blotter: Business Burglary, DWI Arrests and More

July 8, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ - The following blotter was released on July 3, 2018 from the Montclair Police Department:

Arrest:
06-28-2018 (Porter Place) Mr. Lonnial Hargrove (48yoa from Irvington) was arrested and charged with
DWI.
06-29-2018 (Bellevue Avenue) Mr. Avi Shvetz, 52yoa from Montclair, was arrested and charged with
DWI after striking a parked vehicle.
06-30-2018 (Lackawanna Plaza) Mr.

HMH Mountainside Medical Center to Host Free Film Screening, Aug. 29

July 20, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair Film today announced a partnership with Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center for a free screening of MILK (2015) on Wednesday, August 29th at 10:30 am at Montclair Film’s Cinema505.

The screening, presented in celebration of World Breastfeeding Month, seeks to educate and promote breastfeeding among nursing and expecting mothers. Parents and ...