(TRENTON) – In an effort to restore civility to public discourse and urge a reconsideration of the beliefs shaping public attitudes nationwide, Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker has introduced legislation condemning bigotry and hatred.
“People of all faiths, backgrounds, and political ideologies are drawn to New Jersey because of our fundamental commitment to respecting one another. That is a defining characteristic of this state,” said Zwicker (D-Hunterdon/Mercer/Middlesex/Somerset). “In the midst of national discussions that are increasingly divisive, the people of New Jersey continue to show the world that diversity is an asset, that we can disagree without being disagreeable and that the twin evils of bigotry and hatred have no place here.”
The resolution condemns bigotry and hatred, denounces an increase in hate crimes and declares that the civil rights and civil liberties of all New Jersey residents must be protected and preserved. Zwicker cited a need to embrace tolerance in an effort to build a more inclusive society as the driving force behind the legislation.
Zwicker was attending an American Muslims for Democracy event when he spoke with a South Brunswick resident named M. Basit Qari. Mr. Qari was among many who expressed concern about growing levels of intolerance. As he explained, “It is heartening to see Assemblyman Zwicker's leadership in promoting this anti-bigotry and anti-hatred resolution, celebrating New Jersey's various dimensions of diversity. It strengthens my trust in citizen-centered democracy.”
“I commend Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker for his leadership in standing against bigotry and hatred. We must always show mutual respect for each other, and never allow our differences to lead to violence or any other form of harm. Instead of seeing diversity as a problem or cause for division or hatred, we must celebrate it as a gift that adds to reverence for all human life,” said Rev. Robert Moore, executive director of the Coalition for Peace Action and Peace Action Education Fund in Princeton.
“Standing against hate and intolerance is a strong value of the Jewish community and one shared by our faith-based community partners,” said Mark S. Levenson, president of the New Jersey State Association of Jewish Federations. “We are proud to stand with Assemblyman Zwicker and speak out together as people of conscience to embrace mutual respect for our diversity.”
“Our state’s motto – ‘Liberty and Prosperity’ – and our national motto – e pluribus unum, or ‘out of many, one’ – are inextricably linked,” said Zwicker. “A commitment to liberty and prosperity for everyone in New Jersey begins with the recognition that, no matter where we’re from or who we are or what we believe, our fates are tied. We are one New Jersey, just as we are one nation. Our state, now more than ever, must continue to act with that notion at the forefront.”