Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) today slammed Montclair NAACP vice president James Harris for a tirade aimed at Hasidic Jews and for claiming that poor people are being priced out of Montclair during a local community forum on Monday.
“It’s always awful to see division, racism, and anti-Semitism in this country, but especially heartbreaking when it is here at home,” Sherrill said. “James Harris’ comments were shocking not only because of the anti-Semitism that seems to be drawn from issues in no way related to the affordable housing problems in Montclair, but also because I would assume his work to stand up against racism would apply equally to all forms of hatred.”
Harris grumbled that the Jewish community in Lakewood “controls” the town at the expense of black and Latino students and described Hasidic Jews as “folks in long black suits and curly locks” who are buying properties and victimizing people of color in Lakewood and Jersey City.
“The Jewish community controls the Board of Education and the City Council, but they spend huge amounts of money sending their kids to the Yeshivas and they’ve gutted the budget for the black and Latino students who are left in public schools,” Harris said.
TapIntoMontclair first reported Harris’ comments at a discussion sponsored by Councilwoman Renee Baskerville.
“I have pledged to fight hatred anywhere and everywhere, but especially in Montclair where I’m raising my kids,” said Sherrill. “I think Mr. Harris needs to apologize for his hurtful words and I hope we use this as an opportunity for the community to come together in support of the values that Montclair is well known for: diversity, inclusion, and compassion.”