Community gathering in response to hate
WE THE PEOPLE, a citizens’ group, and the ADL New York-New Jersey organized a community gathering on Wednesday, July 18, in response to recent white supremacy recruiting activity in the state. The event was held at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Basking Ridge. We The People is opposed to the Trump administration and supports Democratic candidates running for Congress.
The white supremacist group Identity Evropa has been posting anti-Semitic and racist fliers in communities across northern and central New Jersey this month, specifically targeting the towns of Somerville, Bridgewater, Morristown, Bedminster, Basking Ridge, and Bernardsville.
“These fliers are just one example of the tactics used by white supremacist groups to spread and to normalize hateful ideas and speech,” said Melanie Robbins, director of community engagement, ADL New York/New Jersey. “Incidents like this aren’t limited to any one specific community; we see this hateful rhetoric both on and offline…. We see this happening on college campuses, in communal spaces like libraries, and in banners over bridges. It’s important for communities and individuals to stay vigilant; we must know how to respond and react when hate arises in our community.”
ADL has been actively monitoring these tactics and has tracked more than 15 cases of white supremacist propaganda on college campuses in the state over the course of the 2017-18 academic year. Nationwide, fliering incidents on campus have increased more than 70 percent compared to 2016-17.
The speakers at the July 18 event included Robbins and Ross Pearlson, chair of ADL’s New Jersey board; Pat Sodolak, community organizer from “We The People”; Karen Gaffney, professor and author of “Dismantling the Racism Machine: A Manual and Toolbox”; Rahat Babar of the NJ office of the attorney general; and Ehtasham Z. Chaudhry of N.J. Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.