Marlboro mayor calls on residents to respect diverse cultures

By Peter Elacqua
Staff Writer

MARLBORO – Without revealing details about several incidents he said have occurred in the wake of Donald Trump’s election as president, Marlboro Mayor Jonathan Hornik is asking residents and visitors to respect the diverse cultures of those who live and work in the municipality.

In a Nov. 17 letter to residents, Hornik said Marlboro’s residents “represent a myriad of faiths and beliefs. … these individuals come together to make up the rich fabric of our town.

“However, it is with deep sadness and disappointment that I have become aware of recent incidents in Marlboro involving the demonstration of hate (that is) based on this same diversity.

“On Nov. 8, our country chose our next president and while our Constitution gives our citizens the right to peacefully make their feelings known, it is with determination and without equivocation that I declare that expressions of bias or intolerance are not welcome in this community.

“Furthermore, let it be clear that any crimes committed in this regard will be prosecuted under the fullest extent of the law. I ask you to join with me in opposing such actions; if you see something, say something.

“Let’s show everyone what makes our community great by speaking out against discrimination in all its forms. If you observe graffiti or witness an incident, whether verbal or physical, I ask you to be proactive. Immediately call the police at 732-536-0100.

“Should you wish to report an incident anonymously, call the Marlboro Tip Line at 888-536-1010. If you feel that your own safety, or the public’s safety, is at risk, get to a safe place and dial 911,” Hornik wrote.

In an interview on Nov. 17, Marlboro Police Chief Bruce Hall said he could not disclose the exact number of incidents Hornik was referring to that have occurred in the wake of Trump’s election as the nation’s 45th president.

Speaking in general terms, Hall said one incident involved a man who pulled into a gas station and asked a second man if he was Muslim. When the second man said he was not Muslim, the first man drove away, the chief said.

A second incident appeared to consist of a swastika being etched into the pavement on Bryant Drive, according to the police chief.

“We are here to service all segments of our community and we will not tolerate any injustice toward any member of this community. (These incidents) will be investigated vigorously and (suspects) will be brought to the proper authority for judgment,” Hall said.

In his letter, Hornik noted that as the recent incidents concerning issues of diversity were occurring in town, residents were preparing to celebrate the community’s ninth annual Multicultural Day on Nov. 20.

The mayor said the event which honors the cultures of people who live in Marlboro “is a day which celebrates all that makes Marlboro great and during these challenging times, it gives us an opportunity to demonstrate that we as a community stand together.”