SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Together with more than 200 mayors from across the country, South Orange Village President Sheena Collum was one of the first to sign a compact to fight hate, extremism and bigotry as a result of the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia rally where protesters chanted white supremacist and neo-Nazi slogans. 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.
“It was my privilege to be one of the first 200 municipal executives nationwide to sign the Mayors’ Compact to Combat Hate because it shows me work is happening on the ground in cities across this great country and right now we need everyone pulling together in one direction - one that delivers a strong position in support of civil rights and in opposition to racism and discrimination of all kinds," stated Collum.
"South Orange is a proud Sanctuary City. Every year we participate in Pride Month and most recently were the first NJ community to raise the Transgender Flag. We believe that Black Lives Matter. Our residents orchestrated dozens of buses to attend the Women’s March and People’s Climate March, I was also pleased to sign on to Climate Mayors and being one of 369 cities nationwide agreeing to hold up the goals of the Paris Agreement at the local level. Most recently, residents of South Orange and Maplewood joined together in solidarity in response to the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA. We live in an activist town and our residents have come to expect an activist Village President and local government guided by moral leadership and we fully intend to collectively and cooperatively deliver on that," shared Collum.
The mayors’ compact has 10 components:
- Expressly rejecting extremism, white supremacy and all forms of bigotry
- Denouncing all acts of hate wherever they occur
- Ensuring public safety while protecting free speech and other basic constitutional rights
- Calling for fully-resourced law enforcement and civil rights investigations of domestic terrorism and hate crimes
- Elevating and prioritizing anti-bias and anti-hate programs in our nation’s schools
- Supporting targeted communities and bringing together civic and community leaders to build trust
- Celebrating diversity, promoting inclusivity and challenging bias
- Promoting law enforcement training on responding to and reporting hate incidents, hate crimes and domestic terrorism
- Encouraging residents in their communities to report hate incidents and crimes, including using hot lines and online tools
- Maintaining civil rights enforcement and strengthening hate crime laws when necessary
To read the entire compact, click here.
More than a dozen New Jersey Mayors have already signed including Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi, and Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky.