Message from Keith Kaplan

Since news first appeared about the murder of George Floyd, adding his name to a list of atrocities inflicted upon people of color, I’ve been trying to come up with words that were equal to shocking horror we witnessed.  I don’t know if that is possible.

The shocking indifference to human life, captured as George Floyd was murdered by an agent of the State, must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. As an elected representative, I must also call out violence borne from racism, as offensive to the oath we take and the pledge we make to our residents.

To anyone of conscience, it’s difficult to watch the videos of lives cut short – but it’s far MORE painful to reckon with the fact that this is the reality of fellow Americans. One, that our neighbors of color face each and every day.

Dr. King spoke of “an other America… with a daily ugliness about it that transforms the buoyancy of hope into the fatigue of despair”. Black residents and those of color here and in our greater community, still face systemic racism in their daily existence.  Despite many reforms and improvements, George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others, live in that “other America”.

We find ourselves at a time of growing polarization in our country — and even here in town.

Teaneck has a long history of responding to injustice with thoughtful and deliberate action.  And Teaneck must continue to stand up and speak out against all forms of racism.  We must act to ensure the promises of America are more than words for everyone living here.  Until Black Lives Matter, we cannot claim that all do.

In the coming weeks, a number of protests and rallies are being arranged.  Whether you attend in person or virtually, we must all stand with those that experience injustice, as well as those dedicated to shining a light on such injustices.

The bible teaches us to “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression”.  This is a time for such learning, which starts with listening.

In the past, through outreach efforts, including community policing and work by the community relations advisory board, our town has made concrete steps to foster trust and respect between our police and residents.  Of course, there is always more work left before us.

In the coming weeks and months, I will share some suggestions and as always, I’m open and available to speak with any resident about particular issues and reforms we can support in town — and beyond.

Right now, in this moment, it’s important that we must support each other — and especially those of color who are hurting in our community, with empathy, respect and kindness.

Message from Township Manager Dean Kazinci:

Message from Police Chief O’Reilly