PLAINFIELD, NJ - There are fourteen New Jersey mayors, including Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp, who have joined over 200 mayors across the nation in signing a compact to "fight extremism and bigotry" in the wake of the deadly Charlottesville, Va., rally.
The Anti-Defamation League and The U.S. Conference of Mayors launched the initiative after protesters chanting white supremacist and neo-Nazi slogans over a week ago descended on the Viriginia city. James Alex Fields was reportedly charged in connection with the death of Heather Heyer, who died after a car plowed into her and other counter protesters in Virginia.
“Anyone carrying the Nazi flag and the American flag do not represent the values of this country,” Elizabeth's Mayor Bollwage said in a statement. “Tens of thousand of men and women gave their lives to defeat Nazism. It has no place in this country."
“What this country witnessed in Charlottesville, Virginia, is unacceptable and indefensible and I am confident that the residents of Westfield stand in solidarity with the residents of Charlottesville,” Westfield Mayor Skibitsky said. “The senseless violence, fueled by racism, ignorance and hatred, was sickening and hit me hard in the gut; I knew I had to speak out against it. The Anti-Defamation League, working with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, developed a ‘Compact to Combat Hate, Extremism and Bigotry.’ I knew in my heart that it was important that I sign it as it serves as another opportunity to speak out against such hate, extremism and bigotry.”
The compact has 10 components, which include denouncing "all acts of hatred," ensuring public safety while protecting free speech, and calls for prioritizing anti-bias and anti-hate programs in schools.
The thirteen New Jersey mayors joining Mayor Mapp in signing the compact are:
- Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka,
- Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky
- Kearny Mayor Alberto G. Santos
- Cherry Hill Mayor Chuck Cahn
- East Brunswick Mayor Brad J. Chohen
- Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage
- Montclair Mayor Robert D. Jackson
- Mountain Lakes Mayor Peter Holmberg
- North Brunswick Mayor Francis 'Mac' Womack III
- Piscataway Mayor Brian C. Wahler
- Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert
- South Orange Mayor Sheena C. Collum
- West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi
In Elizabeth, over 59 percent of the city's population identified as Hispanic or Latino origin as of 2010, which is the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau. (Hispanics can be of any race, as per the U.S. Census Bureau.) About 21 percent of the population in Elizabeth was Black or African American.
Earlier this year, Bollwage reportedly said he would not give Elizabeth "sanctuary city" status since it might put a target on unauthorized immigrants. He also said the city would need a warrant from any outside law enforcement before local police decide whether or not to give support.