Will Holmdel keep ‘racist’ thin blue line? — NJ Top News 3/3
Holmdel's blue line will remain, for now.
A loud pushback from members of the public have Holmdel officials rethinking the removal of a blue line painted down a local street to honor police.
Deputy Mayor Cathy Weber issued a statement acknowledging she has heard "significant feedback" after initial reports about a recommendation from the Holmdel Human Rights Committee that the line be removed. The HRC noted the line can make some members of the community feel uneasy or threatened because it has been appropriated by white supremacists as a symbol of hate.
The removal of the line was included as the last item in the HRC's report detailing several steps aimed at improving race relations in town. The committee was formed last summer as racial tensions rose nationwide with a series of protests over police brutality. However, Weber said the recommendation itself has caused division in town. For that, she apologized, saying some of the language in the HRC report "was hurtful to many and not consistent with the goal of creating unity." She says she will recommend the final HRC remove any mention of the line.
The HRC report sparked intense and often heated debate on social media. The Asbury Park Press is detailing many of the comments in response to the report. One resident wrote on Facebook, "What on earth is wrong with you. It's a line. It's blue." Another countered, "The committee of our Holmdel residents have clearly stated this is a racist and symbol of hate. Welcome to the real world."
What happens next is unclear. The blue line was first installed in 2016. Public works employees have maintained it ever since with repainting and touchups as needed. Given the controversy created by the HRC report, any mention of the blue line will likely be deleted from the final report. Even if that happens, town officials could simply suspend maintenance of the line and allow it to simply fade away.
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