Here is the letter sent to Mayor Lempert by members of the Not in Our Town board and appearing in the Town Topics (Wednesday, August 30, 2017, p. 14) and U.S. 1 commending her for signing the Mayors’ Compact to Combat Hate, Extremism and Bigotry. Thanks to Wilma Solomon who wrote it.
Thanks to Mayor Lempert
Members of Not in Our Town Princeton thank you for your stand on behalf of our town by signing the recent Mayors’ Compact to Combat Hate, Extremism and Bigotry, launched by the United States Conference of Mayors and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in response to the tragic incidents in Charlottesville. We understand that the goal of this initiative is “to make cities safer for all who live there, and to promote the fundamental principles of justice and equality that define our nation.”
The compact states that “Mayors and their cities must continue to be a beacon for inclusion, tolerance, and respect for all. We will continue to create stronger cultures of kindness and compassion in our communities, and expect our federal and state partners to join us in this endeavor.” Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director pointed out that “Charlottesville made clear that we have a lot more work to do in our communities and we can’t wait a minute longer to step up our efforts.”
We are fortunate that you and our town council have many government and community partners who have already shown their commitment to these goals. These include our newly formed Civil Rights Commission, Human Services Department, our police department (whose staff regularly undergo anti-bias training), the Latin American Legal Defense Fund, school leaders and students themselves who are making racial literacy a priority, our Witherspoon Jackson Historical and Cultural Society, the annual Joint Effort Princeton Safe Streets programs, Corner House, the Arts Council of Princeton, the Princeton Public Library, YWCA, YMCA, Princeton Historical Society, and many other community groups and individuals whose mission and advocacy efforts are devoted to making our community one where all are safe and respected.
Additionally, we appreciate that Princeton is officially a “Welcoming Community,” the purpose of which is to “foster a culture and policy environment that makes it possible for newcomers of all backgrounds to feel valued and to fully participate alongside their neighbors in the social, civic, and economic fabric of their adopted hometowns.” And we look forward to participating in Welcoming Week, starting Friday, September 15.
We are encouraged by your stand and our governmental and community goals and initiatives. We must continue the momentum. Residents still suffer from the hurtful legacy of segregation in Princeton. There are students who don’t feel a sense of belonging. Members of our undocumented community and other vulnerable groups feel marginalized.
The more we understand about our past and how it still affects us, the more we speak about our own experiences of struggle, the more we listen to the experiences of our neighbors and friends who still yearn for fundamental treatment of dignity and fairness, the closer we will be to becoming a community where the fundamental rights of justice and equality prevail for all. We believe that Princeton can be a leader in achieving this vision. Please let us know how we can support you in having this become a reality.
Wilma Solomon, Larry Spruill, Roberto Schiraldi, and Linda Oppenheim