On the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Civil Rights Act, the American people can celebrate the progress that has been made in seeing the equality of all citizens. Although there is much more work needed, the foundation has been laid for generations to come.

In 1968, in response to the Civil Rights Act, Middletown Township set precedence by being the first township to form a Human Rights Commission. Over the years this all volunteer body has contributed to various successes in the fields of public access, employee relations and the equal treatment of everyone.

In recent years the Middletown Township Committee has neglected to appoint members to this Commission and has discouraged the existing members from participating, leading to member resignations. Essentially, the governing body has decided that there is no need for a Human Rights Commission in Middletown and that they, themselves, can address any concerns a resident may have.

The Township Committee unanimously introduced and adopted an ordinance to abolish the Middletown Human Rights Commission. This shameful act of disregard of public participation in local government is appalling. The very premise of volunteerism, which our township thrives upon, is being eroded by this dissolution. One can only speculate as to what will be next that the Township Committee will remove to distance them from the residents.

Don Watson

New Monmouth, NJ