WESTFIELD, NJ — Mayor Andy Skibitsky has joined more than 200 mayors across the nation in signing a compact to “fight extremism and bigotry” in the wake 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.
“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,” 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 mayors’ compact has 10 components:
1. Expressly rejecting extremism, white supremacy and all forms of bigotry.
2. Denouncing all acts of hate wherever they occur.
3. Ensuring public safety while protecting free speech and other basic constitutional rights.
4. Calling for fully resourced law enforcement and civil rights investigations of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.
5. Elevating and prioritizing anti-bias and anti-hate programs in our nation’s schools.
6. Supporting targeted communities and bringing together civic and community leaders to build trust.
7. Celebrating diversity, promoting inclusivity and challenging bias.
8. Promoting law enforcement training on responding to and reporting hate incidents, hate crimes and domestic terrorism.
9. Encouraging residents in their communities to report hate incidents and crimes, including using hotlines and online tools.
10. Maintaining civil rights enforcement and strengthening hate crime laws when necessary.
To read the entire compact, click here.
Ten other mayors in the state have also signed the compact so far, including Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Elizabeth Mayor Christian Bollwage and Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp.