The local LGBTQ community was rightly proud when Westfield raised the rainbow flag outside Town Hall during pride month this past June. Sadly, Mayor Shelly Brindle is not willing to extend the same courtesy to help other local communities celebrate their pride.
Notwithstanding the precedent she set earlier this year, Mayor Brindle recently denied a request from Westfield's Italian American community to fly the Italian flag in honor of Columbus Day, a state and federal holiday. Historically, the association with Christopher Columbus by Italian American immigrants, like my parents, helped them overcome the prejudices they endured after arriving in America, many of them in Westfield. By refusing to follow the lead of Union County, Bergen County, Jersey City, West Orange, Livingston, and many other New Jersey communities in raising the Italian flag to mark Columbus Day, the Mayor's platitudes about diversity and inclusion ring hollow.
There is a word for selective favoritism by government: it is called discrimination. Another word comes to mind: hypocrisy. I encourage all local communities, groups, and organizations to ask Mayor Brindle to fly their banner. Let's see which favored ones make the cut. Westfield's Italian Americans did not.