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RED BANK: HUNDREDS MARCH FOR GUN LIMITS

Joining a movement that arose from the slaughter of 17 students and adults at a Florida high school last month, hundreds of protesters marched through downtown Red Bank Saturday as part of a nationwide ‘March for Our Lives‘ effort to demand bans on assault weapons and other legislation to reduce gun violence in schools.

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FAIR HAVEN: WALKOUTS GET DETENTION

Fair Haven Superintendent Sean McNeil, seen below at a January event, expressed pride in Knollwood students who walked out, but told them there had to be consequences. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Seventy-two Fair Haven middle school students were ordered to report for detention after participating in a walkout Wednesday to mark the one-month anniversary of a mass school shooting in Florida.

Meanwhile, just half a mile away, hundreds of Red Bank Regional High students observed the nationwide walkout without penalty. But the fact that they were sequestered within the confines of the school stadium, and surrounded by police, irked at least one student.

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RED BANK: EX-REC HEAD ALLEGES RACISM

memone-kidsMemone Crystian with Red Bank Little Leaguers in 2010. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A former director of Red Bank’s parks and rec department is suing the borough and former officials, alleging she was forced out of the job by racism and gender discrimination.

Memone Crystian quit the position in May, 2015, “after years of being subjected to a hostile work environment” that included discrimination by then-borough Administrator Stanley Sickels and then-councilman Art Murphy, the suit alleges.

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RED BANK: STUDENTS STAND FOR PEACE

Students at the Red Bank Middle School were out on Harding Road taking turns sharing messages of peace and other reminders of Martin Luther King Jr. outside the Red Bank Primary School Tuesday.

According to vice principal J.T. Pierson, a new group of 20 students will be out every 15 minutes during the school day. (Photo by J.T. Pierson. Click to enlarge.)

RED BANK: UNITY RALLY DRAWS A MURPHY

Tammy Murphy reacts as her husband, Governor-elect Phil Murphy, calls her while she’s delivering a speech at Saturday’s Unity Rally in Red Bank. The event drew a full house to Pilgrim Baptist Church, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Ignoring biting cold, dozens of Red Bank-area residents participated in a “unity” march and rally Saturday in honor of two civil rights champions: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and journalist T. Thomas Fortune.

Anchored at Pilgrim Baptist Church, the event featured a cameo appearance by the spouse of Governor-elect Phil Murphy as part of a whirlwind, pre-inaugural tour of New Jersey.

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RED BANK: IMMIGRANTS PROCLAIM EQUALITY

The ‘Awaken Community’ march through downtown Red Bank culminated with a brief rally at Riverside Gardens Park. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Several hundred marchers took to the streets of downtown Red Bank hoping to preserve rights for immigrants that others don’t believe they are entitled to.

Chanting “Up, up with education, down, down with deportation,” waving American flags and carrying banners that read “Immigrants built this nation,” participants gathered around the Christmas tree at Riverside Gardens Park, where they heard an expression of moral support from the borough police department.

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RED BANK: NEW HISTORY IN FORTUNE HOUSE

Restoration work on the T. Thomas Fortune house is underway in conjunction with the construction of 31 apartments behind it, where an elevator tower is visible. Below, builder Roger Mumford shows off an original decorative corbel removed from just below the roof line of the house, and, in his left hand, a replica made from mahogany. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

After a decade-long effort to save it from the wrecking ball, Red Bank’s T. Thomas Fortune house is in the midst of a restoration that has served up some additional history.

Part of the Second Empire-style mansion on Drs. James Parker Boulevard may be much older than previously believed, says developer Roger Mumford, who is racing to conserve what he can of the structure even as it crumbles before his eyes.

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LITTLE SILVER: GRAD KEYNOTES HISPANIC FETE

Dance majors from the RBR Visual and Performing Arts Academy onstage at the Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.  Monica Urena, classe of 2014, below, was the keynote speaker. 

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

Red Bank Regional High School (RBR) welcomed its students to its fifth Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.  Principal Risa Clay stated in English (with RBR junior Esperanza Minyety translating in Spanish), “Hispanics have had a profound and positive influence on our country through their strong commitment to family, faith, hard work and service. They have enhanced and shaped our national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect the multiethnic and multicultural customs of their community. We are proud to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and recognize the achievements of a culture that is prominently represented in our school and community.”

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RED BANK: VIGIL SPEAKERS AIM AT GUN LAWS

Held in response to the the sniper attack that killed 59 concertgoers and wounded hundreds more in Las Vegas Sunday night, the event ended with a shared lighting of candles. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Once again, Red Bank area residents gathered for a march and vigil Wednesday night to protest senseless, gun-related violence in America.

This time, the brief event, attended by about 50 participants, had a more consistently political, rather than spiritual, tone.

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LITTLE SILVER: IMMIGRATION POET VISITS RBR

Award-winning British poet Caroline Smith (at far right in photo) made Red Bank Regional a special stop on her book tour for “The Immigration Handbook.”  She was invited to the school by RBR alumnus Rik van Hemmen (at left), and joined for the occasion by students Bella Scheider (Union Beech), Jack Davis (Little Silver), and Tamia Waddy (Red Bank).

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

At its September 27 board meeting, the  Award-winning British Poet Caroline Smith came to the United States recently on a tour to promote her latest work The Immigration Handbook — and along the way, she did a dear friend a favor and came to talk to his alma mater, Red Bank Regional High School.

RBR alumnus Rik van Hemmen told the assembled students, which included Creative Writing, International Baccalaureate and English AP classes as well as English Language Learners, of his own experiences coming to this school and country as an immigrant back in the 1970s. Read More »

RED BANK: ‘DREAMERS’ GET, AND LEND, A HAND

Itzel  Perez, left, and Karina Espana were among the ‘Dreamers’ available to assist others with the DACA renewal process during a clinic at the Red Bank Primary School Monday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Preparing themselves for the worst, more than a dozen undocumented young immigrants turned out at the Red Bank Primary School Monday night for guidance on navigating a future made less certain in recent weeks by the Trump administration.

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RED BANK: MARCHERS UNITE AGAINST HATRED

Hundreds gathered at borough hall for a rally before a march and vigil, including Mx Rowan, below, who wore a yarmulke with the Hebrew alphabet. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Answering the racist and anti-Semitic shouts heard last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, about 400 Red Bank-area residents gathered Wednesday night to affirm their belief in love over hate.

“We’re all standing here together united in our humanity,” said Hazim Yassin, of the American Muslim Action Network, at a vigil in  Ralph ‘Johnny Jazz’ Park on Shrewsbury Avenue that followed a one-mile march from borough hall. Read More »

RED BANK: RALLY TARGETS RACISM & TRUMP

Several hundred protesters assembled at Riverside Gardens Park Saturday evening. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Hours after violent clashes between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, about 150 local residents and community leaders gathered in Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens Park for a “unity and peace” demonstration Saturday night.

But unlike a rally held in the West Front Street park one day after the start of the Trump Administration, this one did not avoid mentioning Trump’s name, as several speakers laid responsibility for the day’s outburst of hatred and deadly violence in Virginia on the president.

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RED BANK: RACIAL ROOTS OF MEMORIAL DAY

Walter Greason in 2014.   (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

As part of a continuing series of discussions called “Let’s Talk About Race,” the Red Bank Public Library hosts a lecture Wednesday night on “The Surprising Origins of Memorial Day.”

RUMSON: EX-FHPD CHIEF VISITS RCDS

Press release from Rumson Country Day School

It was the 1960s when a police chief visited Darryl Breckenridge’s home to offer Darryl’s mother a job. During the visit, the chief placed his hat on young Darryl’s head. It was this moment that inspired Darryl to become a police officer.

Fast forward to the 1980s, when Darryl was driving through Asbury Park to get a haircut and he saw the red and blue flash of police lights in his rearview mirror. That night he was pulled over by police because of his skin color.

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RED BANK: ‘INCLUSIVE’ MEASURE SQUEAKS BY

Monica Urena speaks to the borough council Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A resolution that thrust Red Bank into a national debate on illegal immigration won narrow approval by the borough council Wednesday night.

A watered-down version of it, that is.

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RED BANK: IMMIGRATION STANCE REVISITED

Rabbi Marc Kline at Monday’s Human Relations Advisory Committee meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After weeks of silence, the Red Bank council is expected next month to consider a proposed resolution that has thrust the borough into a national debate on illegal immigration.

Human Relations Advisory Committee Chairman David Pascale told the group Monday night that he’ll be at the April 12 council meeting to “stand by” a statement that calls for town officials to “monitor and challenge” any costs arising from federal efforts to find and deport undocumented aliens.

The HRAC, meanwhile, rejected member Ashley Homefield’s proposal that the committee simply “make a statement on behalf of the community rather than pushing [a resolution] to vote by the council.”

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RED BANK: HRC HEAD CALLS FOR RESIGNATION

Human Relations Committee Chairman David Pascale, seen above with member Kate Okeson, and his comment on a Facebook post by committee member Michael Clancy, below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The head of Red Bank’s Human Relations Committee has asked one of its members to resign for characterizing the testimony of Latino witnesses at a meeting last month as “sob stories.”

HRC Chairman David Pascale also questioned whether member Michael Clancy, who leads the borough Republican party, is committed to the panel’s mission of fostering a “welcoming and inclusive community” after Clancy said he thought he was joining a “nothing committee.”

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TINTON FALLS: COME TOGETHER IN FAITH

Press release from Monmouth Reform Temple

We bear witness to the vandalism of Jewish Cemeteries and the bomb and terroristic threats on Jewish institutions. We bear witness to the burning of mosques and the harassment of Muslims in America.

We bear witness to the violence inflicted upon our minority populations. We bear witness to the community-destroying finger pointing that accuses innocent and guilty alike, for the pain felt because of the growing and unanswered violence that plagues our nation.

Torah mandates that we respond and bring people together in prayer and support of our common dream for peace and equality. And on Monday night, March 13, Monmouth Reform Temple invites the community to come together to pray and share grace and support as people of faith from a spectrum of religious traditions.

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RED BANK: NO ACTION ON IMMIGRATION

Protesters outside borough hall on February 27. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[See correction below]

By JOHN T. WARD

A controversial proposal to have Red Bank oppose “any forced collaboration” between its police and federal immigration authorities generated no official action by the borough council Wednesday night.

Meeting for the first time since hundreds of protesters from both sides of the national immigration debate packed an advisory committee meeting eight days earlier, the council still had nothing in hand to vote upon, Mayor Pasquale Menna told the audience at the governing body’s semimonthly meeting.

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RED BANK: WESLEYAN HONORS BLACK HISTORY

Press release from United Methodist Communities

Dressed in the tradition of her native Liberia, executive director Gertrude Kehleay (left in photo) greeted an intergenerational, multicultural group of about 100 people, gathered at United Methodist Communities at The Wesleyan for their annual Black History Celebration. All American citizens, they came together on the last day of February to celebrate the history and contributions of African Americans, as well as their ancestry representing nearly every continent around the globe.

Keynote speaker Rev. Darlene Wilson (right in photo) of the Pilgrim Baptist Church in Red Bank, recounted, “Although we dig down deep in February to discover Black History, it is every month…Black History is history.”

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RED BANK: SQUARING OFF OVER IMMIGRATION

Pro-immigrant protesters, above, outnumbered opponents outside borough hall both before and after Monday’s meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

With rallies before and afterward heavily favoring the rights of undocumented residents, Red Bank’s Human Relations Committee voted Monday to oppose “any forced collaboration” between borough police and federal authorities when it comes to enforcing immigration law.

Short of declaring Red Bank a “sanctuary city,” the committee passed, by a 5-2 vote, a resolution that instead calls for town officials to “monitor and challenge” any costs arising from federal efforts to find and deport undocumented aliens.

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