Third Ward Councilor Spiller’s Statement on Remarks at Last Week’s Community Meeting

Jan 06 2020
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Montclair, NJ – Montclair 3rd Ward Councilor Sean Spiller released the following statement addressing comments made by Mr. James Harris at a December 30th community meeting.

Montclair is more than a place–it’s an ideal.  Montclair serves as a beacon of progressivism, hope, acceptance, and diversity.  We are a community that not only welcomes people of all faiths, backgrounds, races, and creeds, but we are also deeply committed to standing up against injustice and bigotry.

Preserving the Montclair ideal–what we stand for–takes commitment.  Last week, intolerance reared its head at a community meeting in Montclair, when Mr. James Harris made divisive and anti-Semitic comments.  While I was not in attendance at the meeting, the comments are nonetheless dangerous and hurtful not only to our Jewish brothers and sisters, but to our community as a whole.

Mr. Harris should apologize for his remarks, but we must go beyond apologies.  We must go further and work harder to foster understanding, tolerance, and to promote healing.  To that end, I look forward to attending a meeting later today, called by Mayor Jackson between faith leaders in the African-American and Jewish communities in Montclair to begin the process of healing. I sincerely hope and believe that Mr. Harris can and will be a part of that healing process.

We must continue to be vigilant and thoughtful in defending the Montclair ideal.  That means having difficult conversations but always doing so respectfully. When we stand together, we are stronger.