Members of the Atlantic Highlands community invited to sign pledge at http://bit.ly/ahpledge
Atlantic Highlands, NJ – A group of local youth who organized a racial justice march last summer that drew hundreds in Atlantic Highlands are asking their neighbors to join with them in a new effort called Atlantic Highlands for Equity & Justice. Ninth-grader Zosia Bowbliss, seventh-grader Eliza Chiles and ninth-grader Allysun Zydel are calling upon members of the Atlantic Highland community to sign a pledge, adding their names to a list of their neighbors who are committing themselves to building a better community for everyone.
The pledge reads:
I am a member of the Atlantic Highlands community, and I am committed to understanding the way racism functions in our society and to dismantling it wherever it exists. I will not be a bystander. I pledge to be an active ally: supportive, affirming, empathetic, and compassionate. I will seek to understand others, as their life experiences are different from mine. I pledge to act with heart and courage to create a community in which the humanity and dignity of every person is nurtured.
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All members of the Atlantic Highlands community are invited to add their name to the pledge by visiting http://bit.ly/ahpledge. Those interested can also visit the group’s Facebook page for more information: www.facebook.com/AHForEquityandJustice
“Atlantic Highlands is a town founded on the values of community, family, and being good neighbors, and these are many of the reasons we all love living here,” said Allysun Zydel. “But let’s be honest: Atlantic Highlands is a pretty homogenous town, and we want our neighbors and visitors of color to feel welcome and valued.”
Pledge signatories are being invited to display a lawn sign featuring original artwork by Allysun Zydel that includes a QR code passersby can scan to be directed to the pledge website: http://bit.ly/ahpledge
“We want to communicate to all that we are a welcoming and compassionate community. And that’s why we are asking people to sign a pledge to show they are committed to educating themselves about different races, ethnicities and cultures and celebrating the differences among us,” said Eliza Chiles. “We hope residents and businesses throughout Atlantic Highlands will sign on and show their support by proudly displaying lawn signs on their property.”
As of May 10, 187 people and businesses have signed the pledge, including Atlantic Highlands Police Chief David W. Rossbach, and signs can be seen in front yards throughout the Borough.
“Atlantic Highlands has always been a safe, welcoming, and inclusive community. As a result of this our little town has become one of the state’s most desirable communities to live in. I am very aware of this as I was born and raised in Atlantic Highlands and have been with the police department for over 40 years. I think it is great that our local youth is carrying on the traditions that have made our town so special,” said Chief Rossbach.
Signs are being offered free of charge to all who want one, but donations are gladly accepted to help cover the cost of sign-printing (for information on how to donate, please email [email protected])
“During this divisive time in our nation’s history, it’s even more important to understand our differences and to celebrate the diversity and humanity that gives vitality to our lives,” said Zosia Bowbliss. “The goal is to show unity, openness, and compassion and make all people feel welcome in our great town.”