Event update as of July 11 - The discussion on Tues., July 12, has been moved to South Orange Middle School, 70 N. Ridgewood Rd., South Orange.
MAPLEWOOD, NJ - On Tuesday, July 12, a discussion will be held at the South Orange Middle School
Columbia High School (17 Parker Ave., Maplewood) auditorium as part of the "Not In Our Two Towns" movement, which also included a protest on Thursday, July 8, and a vigil on Friday, July 9, in Maplewood's Maplecrest Park.
The event page on Facebook states, "meet us at South Orange Middle School
Columbia High School Auditorium this Tuesday, July 12th to mourn the loss of the black lives taken through the past decades. Come enjoy a night filled with open discussion, youth empowerment, and community strategizing."
Tuesday's event is organized by Columbia High School graduates Cory Hardy, Felisha George, Emanuel Grant, Sydney Scruggs, and Alfonso Spottswood, who "will introduce their goals, get more in touch with the youth and bring both towns together in love and solidarity," states the event's Facebook page.
According to event organizers, doors will open at 6 p.m., and the event will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. At 7 p.m., "we will be taking the young adults to host an Open Mic in the cafeteria. In that time the parents will remain in the Auditorium and have the opportunity to voice their concerns and opinions on recent tragedies," according to the Facebook event page. This is a change from the original plan to divide the group into two separate groups of men and women.
Sheena Collum, South Orange Village President, posted to Facebook: "I encourage all South Orange and Maplewood residents to please join us this Tuesday night, July 12, at 6:30 p.m. at the South Orange Middle School
Columbia High School auditorium for a #NotInOurTwoTowns discussion."
Collum continued on Facebook, "our young adults came together in solidarity to deliver a very powerful message to our towns. Their efforts (and many of yours) prompted elected officials, the SOMA Clergy Association, the South Orange Maplewood Community Coalition on Race, South Orange Police Department, and Maplewood Police Department to convene a meeting on Friday to discuss how we can be more supportive and do a better job facilitating conversations and actions for our community and Tuesday is a next step."
Collum also stated that she was able to spend time with "Not In Our Two Towns" organizers Felisha George, Syd Scruggs, Cory Hardy, Emanuel Grant, and Alfonso [Spottswood], stating "what I can tell you is how amazed and extremely proud of them I am. If they are representative of what our school district is producing, each and every one of you should be proud."
To learn more about the "Not In Our Two Towns" event on Tuesday night, click here.