ELIZABETH, NJ - The Union County Freeholders held their regular meeting tonight, and a special resolution was introduced to recognize and commend Westfield residents Valerie Latona and David Contract for building their "Wall of Love".
Latona had posted her first “Love trumps hate” sign before the Presidential election, and it was vandalized. Her family put up a second one, a banner, that would be harder to steal or deface.
She said, “We felt very strongly, given so much hate that was displayed throughout this past election, that we wanted to make a stand about values, not candidates."
By Valentine's Day, there was a "Wall of Love" where people could write and hang inspiring messages on paper hearts. The signs, Latona said in a letter to the editor, became "surrounded by almost 300 hearts designed by residents of Westfield and surrounding towns."
She noted that the hearts were about love and respect, and that her family's goal was to "express our values and find a common ground for people at a time when there is, and has been, so much hatred and divisiveness."
Tonight, the family was honored by the Freeholders, with Chairman Bruce Bergen and Vice Chairman Sergio Granados making the presentation.
Latona then took the microphone and addressed the crowd, stating that their diverse community could be unified and brought together with love.