Civil Rights Committee on the Right Track as it Breaks Ground.
The Advisory Committee on Civil Rights held its second meeting on April 20, 2023. This new committee was established by the city in response to a long strain of civil rights-related issues in Clifton. These issues include the controversial mural painted on public property in 2021, city employees' reports of being targeted and harassed due to race, zoning obstacles related to a house of worship, and a culmination of other concerns. The committee will offer recommendations to City Council through its council liaisons but is not empowered to make any decisions or create ordinances.
An election for a chairperson will take place soon once more groundlaying has been completed. Currently, Councilwoman Rosemary Pino is leading the meetings. Councilman Tony Latona and Councilman William Gibson also serve as council liaisons. City Attorney Matthew Priore and City Manager Nick Villano also sit in on the meetings to offer guidance as needed.
The committee made up of two members from every section of town, is still in the process of establishing a mission statement. A subcommittee of about five members will work to produce a draft for next month's meeting. One member in particular, Jeff Hoey, recommended seeking inspiration from surrounding towns that have established civil rights committees. Two of those towns are Rutherford and Montclair. Another subcommittee will work on organizing workshop trainings for the committee. These workshops will revolve around civil rights, diversity, equity, and other related topics.
The diversity of Clifton is truly represented in this committee which includes an attorney, multiple realtors, human resources professionals, college professors, a high school student, a marathon runner, a public transportation advocate, and two members are elected commissioners on the Clifton Board of Education. New citizens to Clifton, lifelong citizens of Clifton, Black American citizens, Hispanic citizens, and Jewish citizens are all active and present at these meetings. The foundation is almost completed, and hopefully this committee will grow efficiently and effectively.
The committee still seeks representation from some neighborhoods. Specifically, citizens are needed from the following sections of town: Albion, Dutch Hill, Greglawn, Hazel, Knollwood, and Oakridge.
If you are interested in joining the Advisory Committee on Civil Rights, click HERE for the application.