NUTLEY, NJ - The Township of Nutley is known for many things: pizza, Martha Stewart and xenophobia. On Sunday, June 7, more than 1,000 protesters gathered in Yanticaw Park, then marched through the community, with the goal of changing that.
Racism, and xenophobia, are embedded in the culture of the town. Nutley notables deny the problem, but it is there, and has made headlines in TAPinto Nutley, and media across the state, and nation. As news about the Sunday rally spread through town, we were bombarded with calls, emails, and social media posts and comments denying a racism problem in town. Since facts matter, we dove into the archives to revisit some of our reporting, and articles about stories that we were first to report.
The Township of Nutley was featured prominently in the May 2020 Issue of New Jersey Monthly' The article "Jersey’s Steps to Create a No-Hate State" "That Video" from a New Year's Eve party, featuring racially charged language played heavily in the monthly magazine's article. TAPinto Nutley broke the story about social media video on New Year's Day, with multiple stories including response from the Nutley Public Schools district, the Township of Nutley Board of Commissioners, NHS Alumni, and current students.
Reporter Maggie Redstone interviewed several current NHS students for her report Nutley High School Students Discuss New Years Video, Cancel Culture, and Racism in the Township Redstone's report told the stories of Nutley Public Schools students and their experience with bias in the district.
A bias intimidation incident on Franklin Ave. that TAPinto Nutley first reported on April 24, made headlines around the nation in May. According to the Nutley Police Department, the incident began in a local business and moved outside. That's where the 55-year-old township resident is reported to have rammed his vehicle into the victim's vehicle two times, and attempted to ram it a third time. Nutley Man Charged With Bias Intimidation, Aggravated Assault Following Motor Vehicle Incident
Shortly after TAPinto Nutley's article CAIR-NJ Welcomes Charges for Nutley Man Accused of Ramming Vehicle of Muslim Woman, Shouting ‘You’re a Terrorist’ was published, legacy media in the state took notice of the incident. Shortly thereafter, the story was picked up by news outlets across the country.
In May 2019, racist / anti-police graffiti appeared in Essex County Yantacaw Park. Racist / Anti-Police Graffiti Appears in Essex County Yanticaw Park in Nutley
At yesterday's rally, those gathered heard the personal experiences of a speaker. Afterward, several rally-goers shared their experiences with TAPinto Nutley reporters. The stories included their personal experiences being on the receiving end of comments and actions, and also their stories of witnessing acts of bias unfold in public places like the ShopRite, the parks, and school functions. The incidents were not limited to African-Americans, but included Asian-American, the Jewish community, and disabled residents. Many stated that the R-word is often heard in town.
During the march portion of Sunday's event, there were some hecklers. One, a resident of Passaic Ave. stood in front of this home shouting profanities at protestors. That video is becoming a viral sensation on Twitter and Instagram.
Xenophobia, and bias targeting Asian-Americans, inspired one Nutley parent to author a letter to the editor in March. Xenophobic Comments and Casual Racism are Not Okay The letter was in response to racist responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nutley is making strides forward with regard to Civil Rights issues, last week, for the second time in Nutley history, the Township of Nutley Board of Commissioners proclaimed June #LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Township of Nutley Board of Commissioners Proclaim June 2020 LGBTQ+ Pride Month. In 2019, three of the five commissioners signed the proclamation. In 2020, four commissions signed it. The lone holdout this year was Public Safety Commissioner Alphonse Petracco.
TAPinto Nutley's coverage of the Black Lives Matter rallies across the state, as well as our continuing coverage of BLM activites in town, will appear in our Law and Justice section.
Since 2016, TAPintoNutley.net has been the only locally owned news organization serving the Township of Nutley, and is a member of the New Jersey Press Association. The Nutley Board of Commissioners first named TAPintoNutley.net the township's 'Official Electronic News Source' in 2019.