ROSELLE PARK, NJ - Mayor Carl Hokanson issued a statement Monday regarding the re-naming of Roselle Park's "Tree Lighting Ceremony" to "Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony."
As first reported on TAP into Roselle and Roselle Park on Friday, Councilwoman Charlene Storey resigned after the council voted to add the word "Christmas" to the event's name. She later rescinded her resignation. Read those stories by clicking here and here.
The mayor wrote:
I am pleased this year to see all the enthusiasm over our “Christmas Tree” celebration. At this point there are few points for the record.
1. Our ceremony on Friday at 6 p.m. will be referred to as the “Christmas Tree Lighting." This is not a constitutional issue or an attempt to mix religion with government. Rather this is a factual reference - we are lighting a Christmas Tree.
2. What we have experienced in the last week after the hubbub dies down was the fact that many of us were able to exercise our First Amendment Rights. Along with religious rights we also have free speech rights.
Moving forward, I sport all activities to enhance diversity. That’s another right we celebrate in this country. So, I invite all to our celebration on Friday night at 6 p.m. at Michael Mauri Park. At the end of the lighting celebration, we can leave together as the Roselle Park family - with something we all agree upon the need to work to improve the borough.