Mayor’s Message: Social justice and racism

In Voorhees Township, we are fortunate to have a diverse community

The killing of George Floyd has led to a national outcry for social justice and the condemnation of racism and police brutality.  It reminds us all that it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.

In his memorable “I Have a Dream” speech, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke of the “urgency of now.”  He said, “This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism… Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.”

We are proud that the Voorhees Community has had several peaceful rallies to unite against racism and demand justice. We are particularly proud that our young people have had the loudest voices – proof that our children are watching.  They are energized and motivated to be the change, but we must all work together.

In Voorhees Township, we are fortunate to have a diverse community.  Over two decades ago, we became the first town in South Jersey to form a Cultural and Diversity Committee to educate our community about our differences and to spread a loving message against hate and prejudice.

Voorhees Police Chief Louis Bordi regularly reviews and updates our Police Department’s use of force policy.  We are proud that he is the incoming President of the New Jersey Police Chiefs Association and, in that capacity, will work directly with New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal in updating and improving statewide police use of force policies.  The VTPD follows the Attorney General’s guidelines on police use of force which meet and address the “8 Can’t Wait” initiatives.

Chief Bordi has stressed “community policing through community engagement.”  Such initiatives as our Citizens Police Academy, Junior Police Academy and National Night Out have brought our officers and community together.  Our Police Department has received instruction in such areas as bias-free police training, 21st Century Policing Reform, Religious Diversity and LGBTQ sensitivity.

Chief Bordi and members of our Police Department have met on more than one occasion in recent weeks with religious leaders throughout our community for guidance and advice during this pivotal time.

To our black community, we see you, we hear you and we stand with you.

We will continue to fight for social justice because the time is now.

** The Voorhees Township Committee is proud to honor the Class of 2020 with a graduation mural located on the wall adjacent to the square in front of Town Hall. This beautiful piece of art was created by the Voorhees Arts Council and funded through private donations to the Voorhees Citizens Event Foundation. We are inviting graduates of all levels of school to visit the mural and take pictures to help memorialize this special time in their lives. Please respect social distancing guidelines as you celebrate with your graduate. Congratulations to the Class of 2020!

** Due to COVID-19, kindergarten registration for the 2020-2021 school year will not be in person and will take place on-line. Any child who will turn five years of age on or before October 1 is eligible for kindergarten admission in September 2020. You must complete the pre-registration application at https://genesis.voorhees.k12.us/genesis/openReg. A staff member will contact you for additional information after the pre-registration is complete. For more information, visit https://www.voorhees.k12.nj.us.

** The American Red Cross is holding a blood drive on Thursday, July 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Voorhees Town Center in the court below Town Hall. Donations are by appointment only. To schedule, visit www.redcrossblood.org or call (800) 733-2767. Be a hero and donate.