Dear Editor, 

In a city rich with history and as diverse as Paterson, it is very important that we understand that hate speech has no place in this city. In the case of Councilman Michael Jackson, I firmly believe that the words he spoke were taken out of context. He uttered a phrase against his better judgement that was seen as Anti-Semitic, after which he acknowledged that what he said was wrong and apologized for his transgression. 

As a former resident of the 1st ward, I've seen Mr.Jackson demonstrate time and time again his willingness to serve and advocate for ALL Patersonians regardless of ethnicity and religious beliefs. The Councilman made a mistake and quickly rectified that mistake by offering sincere apologies.  

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Let us not allow this to become a distraction to those who would use this to posture themselves politically. The city has bigger issues that require all of our undivided attention.

Respectfully Submitted

Justin M. Rucker