SJM's Statement on Racist Graffiti
Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School was vandalized with racially charged and anti-Semitic language and symbols this past Friday. Similar vandalism occurred recently at Franklin Elementary School in Westfield and public buildings in other communities. Part of the mission of Social Justice Matters (SJM) is to bring our communities together to send “the message”: this community is not fertile soil for the seeds of hate. SJM stands in solidarity with communities in their efforts to support people offended and disrespected by such events.
As a Co-Founder of the Anti-Racism Community Collaborative Board (ARCCB), SJM calls upon the SPF School District to do more than swiftly erase the images. We need to engage in proactive efforts to educate students and bridge gaps that may exist among them. In the past two years, there has been an incident of race-based vandalism at Evergreen School aftercare, and hate speech shouted at a Black family at the SPFHS track. Understanding that any students involved are entitled to privacy, the community is left with no sense that ANY action has been taken. SJM and other organizations will work with the District for a long-term strategy to be more proactive in addressing this phenomenon.
SJM also calls upon local elected officials to take an active role in this matter. We recognize that the issue we face is not merely a student issue. It is a community issue (as an earlier incident not on school property shows)
SJM stands ready to support local government in making clear that this community is not fertile ground for the seeds of hate. SJM and the ARCCB encourage Union County communities to send "the message."
This is an opportunity to root out misconceptions and biases while building relationships and a stronger community.