It is sad that at a time when we are remembering the civil rights efforts of Martin Luther King, Jr. the Middletown Township Committee has taken steps to dissolving the Middletown Human Rights Commission (MHRC).
At the 2012 reorganization meeting the Middletown township committee added no members to the MHRC, which had only six members of a required eleven. Instead, the committee actually removed two, leaving only four!
Mayor Fiore commented that there are vacancies because he knows of no one interested in MHRC appointment. That is untrue; I know of at least one man, Jim, who applied a year ago and never had any response. He assumes that they checked his voter registration and threw out his application when they saw he was a Democrat. A former MHRC member commented two years ago, as a reason for not seeking reappointment, "There have been township people who have expressed interest in joining the MHRC and who many months ago have even submitted to the Township Committee a form expressing their interest. Yet the Township Committee still has not done anything to fill any of the many vacancies."
Almost none of our members were appointed because they had specifically applied for the MHRC. They were put on as neighbors of a mayor or from a general talent bank application. Often they did not even know what the MHRC was about when they came to us as new appointees.
The mayor's comment that many people have left MHRC is also not true. In 2011 just one member left, due to serious family illness and another in December 2009 out of frustration with the township committee, In a letter to them he noted, "The MHRC is the oldest human rights commission in the state of NJ. If done properly, it can have a significant positive impact on the quality of life in Middletown, yet because of the attitude and inaction of the Township Committee, I feel that I have been wasting my time being a member of the MHRC. The Middletown Township Committee doesn't seem to care about the existence of the MHRC."
Dr. King said, "Darkness cannot drive our darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."