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Montvale, NJ 07645

Mayor's Message - 6-8-2020 - George Floyd

George Floyd’s life mattered, and it was taken away not just from him but also from his family, friends and the community.  At the present time, all four officers involved have been charged in connection with George’s death. Although we all desperately wish that this terrible tragedy had never happened in the first place, obtaining justice for George is now left in the hands of the State and Federal Court systems. Obtaining real Justice for George’s community, however, requires far more than a single trial. 

Over the past few weeks, we have heard from many influential black leaders telling us that the best way to advance the cause of racial justice in this Country is by engaging in a dialogue with those groups and individuals whose voices have historically not been heard. The first thing that many of us need to do, however, is to stop and just listen.   

Right now, we can turn on any news channel and hear the frustrated voices of our fellow citizens.  George’s death has led to numerous protests across this Country and throughout the world.  There are powerful messages being shared, and we should all take some time to reflect on these stories.  The First Amendment guarantees to all Americans the right to protest peacefully, without fear of violence or reprisal, and we will do everything in our power to protect that right in Montvale.  However, it goes without saying that no one has the right to destroy others’ property or to respond to the violence against George Floyd with violence against others.  Unfortunately, some individuals have taken advantage of these nationwide protests to encourage violence, rioting and looting, which dishonor George’s memory.  We must not allow anger about George or other victims of racial injustice to diminish the value or importance of the lives of all of our citizens, regardless of race, sex, age, national origin or sexual orientation. 

In Montvale, we are fortunate to have a diverse and well-trained police department.  We are all rightfully very proud of the mutual respect that has been forged between our police department and our community.  Montvale and its Police Department have repeatedly demonstrated zero tolerance for injustice or racial bias of any kind in Montvale, and we will work tirelessly to guarantee the continued equal and unbiased treatment of all individuals in the future. 

As your Mayor, I am here to listen to you and to do whatever is in my power to respond to your concerns.  As a Syrian-American immigrant to this County, I can sympathize with those who have personally experienced racial injustice, but I do not claim to fully understand the historical inequity suffered by those in the black community.  It is tragic that two decades into the twenty-first century, so many of our fellow citizens feel that the truism that “black lives matter” is still not being heard and acknowledged by those in power.  

I ask all of our residents to join me in listening to the important stories being shared at this difficult time in our nation’s history, in praying for those individuals and groups whose value to our country may have been historically ignored, and in working together towards a more just society.

Montvale Mayor Mike Ghassali

 

 

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