Huntington – Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci, members of the Town Board, and Town officials were be joined by the Town’s Anti-Bias Task Force, Vision Long Island, the Suffolk County Police Department 2nd Precinct, representatives from local business, and volunteers from the community to announce the Town’s new project to promote unity and highlight the inclusive nature of the Huntington community, entitled “Hate Has No Place in Huntington,” on Friday, July 24 at Heckscher Park in Huntington.
Those representing the Town at the ceremony included Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci, Councilman Mark Cuthbertson, Councilwoman Joan Cergol, Councilman Ed Smyth, Receiver of Taxes Jillian Guthman, Superintendent of Highways Kevin S. Orelli, Department of Humans Services Director Carmen Kasper, Division of Minority Affair Director Kevin Thorbourne, Anti-Bias Task Force Chairperson Helen Boxwill and members Dr. Eve Krief, Dr. Richard Koubek, Denise Han, and Susan Dewey-Hammer. Also in attendance were Inspector William Scrima and Officer Claudia Delgado of the Suffolk County Police Department, 2nd Precinct, Dr. Richard Koubek also represented Vision Long Island, Randy Paul and Sandra Jimenez of the Leaders of the New School, and Ellen O’Brien of the Huntington Chamber of Commerce.
Vision Long Island generously produced a collection of signage for Town of Huntington businesses to display, spreading the message of tolerance and inclusiveness with the headline, “Hate Has No Business in Huntington” and “All Are Welcome Here” in multiple languages.
The Anti-Bias Task Force has also collected donations from the community, payable to the Huntington Human Services Institute, Inc., for the production of lawn signs, available to residents free of charge, displaying the message, “Hate Has No Home in the Town of Huntington,” which residents can display with pride.
Anti-Bias Task Force member Dr. Eve Krief coordinated 40 youth volunteers from several of the Town’s school districts with a diverse group of representatives from the New School, St. Hugh of Lincoln Church, Masjid Noor, Huntington Jewish Center, Huntington Congregational Church, Old First Church, Gathering of Light, and other concerned Huntington youth who love their Town.
“Huntington prides itself on being a step ahead of other communities in business, our relationship with law enforcement, education, creativity, culture and inclusiveness – Huntington really is a slice of everything America is and should be. Make no mistake about it, hate has no place in Huntington and we are grateful for the generosity of Vision Long Island, our youth volunteers and generous contributors who love their Town and are helping us spread this message of inclusiveness and unity,” stated Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci. “Participants will help remind Huntingtonians and anyone willing to listen that we cannot survive as a divided community, state or nation.”
"A reverse paradigm is happening, it’s time to listen to the young people of our Town, they are educated and they know that hate has no place in our town, our message is clear, we can and we must continue to do better every day," said Councilman Mark Cuthbertson.
Councilwoman Joan Cergol stated: “The motto of our Anti-Bias Task Force is: “Together We Can.” I do believe that together, we can stamp out hate, foster a community of tolerance and help make Huntington a better place for us and for future generations.”
Councilman Ed Smyth said: “I’d like to thank the Anti-Bias Task Force for doing a great job on this. I’ll let the signs speak for themselves. Hate has NO place in Huntington and it’s unfortunate that we’re still having this conversation in 2020.”
"The events of the death of George Floyd as well as the COVID 19 Pandemic have brought attention to inequities in our society. The actions of the Huntington Anti-Bias Task Force and our youth demonstrate a commitment to addressing the perils of hate," said Receiver of Taxes Jillian Guthman.
“I am proud to have been able to stand and be counted with the Town’s Anti-Bias Task Force along with many local students, parents and community leaders on Friday, July 25th in solidarity against hate at Heckscher Park,” stated Highway Superintendent Kevin Orelli.
“I am proud of the Town of Huntington’s Anti-Bias Task Force’s hard work on the initiative; Hate has No Business or Home in Huntington, which features posters and lawn signs that pledges respect for refugees, people of all faiths, backgrounds and genders.”, stated Councilman Eugene Cook, who also sent his regrets as he was unable to attend the ceremony. “Huntington has a proven history of diversity, which is why many families call it home and others travel to enjoy the varying cultures and communities that our hamlets have to offer, and one of the reasons I decided to call Huntington home, myself. These posters and lawn signs are away to celebrate and embrace the differences in our communities, while making a clear statement that discrimination will not be tolerated by Huntingtonians.”
"In the midst of these challenging times, I want to thank the Huntington Anti-Bias Task Force (HABTF) for organizing this important event to remind us all that hate has no business in the Town of Huntington," stated Town Clerk Andrew P. Raia, who regretfully was unable to attend due to his performing a wedding ceremony at the time of the press conference. "We need to continue raising awareness among people of all ages, with a special emphasis on instilling these values at a young age so that our children possess a firm understanding of the major issues impacting our society and how to properly address them. Hate of all kinds has no place in Huntington."
“We are very excited to inaugurate this program, demonstrating for all to see that All are Welcome to our wonderful town and Hate has no Business in Huntington. Thanks go to the entire The Huntington Anti Bias Task Force, the Town of Huntington, the youth from throughout the town who will be distributing free posters to businesses and for the support of Vision Long Island,” said Helen Boxwill, Chairperson of the Huntington Anti-Bias Task Force.
“Folks of all races, cultures, backgrounds and classes need to unite against hatred, bias and the forces that continue to divide us. Kudos to the Huntington Anti Bias task force for working with residents and business owners to amplify this critical message. Honored to live and have an office in a Town that stands strongly against racism in all forms,” Eric Alexander, Director, Vision Long Island.
“With this campaign, the members of the Huntington Anti-bias Task Force are spreading an important message of unity and tolerance. The message is important everywhere, but particularly in a town as diverse as Huntington. With increased tension around the country, it has never been more important to remind ourselves and others that acceptance and integration will make the town a safer and better place to live and work,” stated Inspector William Scrima, 2nd Precinct, Suffolk County Police Department.
“Leaders of the New School want to provide self-empowerment and programs to enhance the youth afflicted by the inequalities of economic, social, and political injustice. Our vision is to live in an egalitarian community,” added Randy Paul and Sandra Jimenez of the Leaders of the New School of Huntington.
Those wishing to donate for the production of lawn signs may write a check, payable to the Huntington Human Services Institute, Inc., with “Lawn Signs” in the memo area, and mail it to Town of Huntington, Department of Human Services, Huntington, NY 11743. The Huntington Human Services Institute, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) Not-for-Profit Corporation and the charitable arm of the Town’s Department of Human Services.
The youth volunteers are helping to distribute the business signage and lawn signs, which can be requested by calling the Town’s Department of Human Services at (631) 351-3304 or emailing email@example.com.
In the photos: Town of Huntington Anti-Bias press conference with volunteers holding up sample signage; post-press conference photo (l-r): Officer Claudia Delgado, youth volunteer, Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci, Receiver of Taxes Jillian Guthman, Director of Human Services Carmen Kasper, volunteer; images of business poster and residential lawn sign design.