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Like many of you, I watched with shock and disgust this weekend as the ugliest and worst segments of our population rose up in Charlottesville, Va., in one of the most shocking displays of hate and intimidation our nation has seen since the Civil Rights era.
And I’ve watched with growing disbelief as the President of the United States has failed at every opportunity to call out these individuals and their actions for what they are.
Whatever name you want to give them – neo-Nazis; white nationalists; white supremacists; the Ku Klux Klan – they subscribe to a system of beliefs which has no place in Cherry Hill, in our country, or in any civilized society. Not 50 years ago. Not today. Not ever.
Hate has no home in Cherry Hill.
As Mayor, I’m proud to be part of a community that values and celebrates its diversity; a town where we know we are strongest when we work together, and where we know our differences help make us great.
This is a community where we can have important conversations that engage various viewpoints, and we know that, even when we disagree, we can do it with the respect owed to each and every one of us as human beings, regardless of our race, creed, gender, sexual orientation or nationality.
We are one, united Cherry Hill community.
As Dr. Martin Luther King once said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
As we saw after the threats against the JCC earlier this year, our community is capable of incredible strength and love in the face of hatred and adversity. We know that silence is akin to complicity, and we will not sit idly by and let this disease of anger and hatred infect our community.
We must be the light in the darkness; the love to counteract hate.
Let us stand together today, and every day, to send a clear message that there is no room for intolerance, ignorance, and fear-mongering in Cherry Hill.