The SOMA Against Hate Collective—a group that includes the Coalition on Race, SOMA Action, SOMA Justice, and the Clergy Association—formed in December in response to a white supremacist group that targeted our towns with hate messages. Please read the statement issued by the Collective below. All community members are invited to support the message by posting one of the signs created by the Collective.
SOMA Against Hate is a collective of houses of worship and community groups in South Orange and Maplewood formed in the wake of last week’s efforts by an anti-Semitic, white supremacist hate group to recruit in our communities by posting flyers in prominent places in our two towns.
We have come together because, while we have all issued statements condemning this group in emphatic terms, we recognize that combating white supremacy requires a more sustained effort on our part. While we would like to believe that “it can’t happen here” in our intentionally inclusive and welcoming community, we know that these groups prey on the disaffected among us. We also know that in the absence of a sustained response, these groups may escalate their activities and jeopardize the fragile and hard-fought safety that Jewish and Muslim people, LGBTQ people, African-Americans and other people of color feel in our communities.
SOMA Against Hate plans a multi-pronged campaign to combat white supremacy in our community. The elements are as follows:
We will post banners in a prominent place in each of South Orange and Maplewood, bearing a strong message that our communities are for ALL people and that everyone belongs here.
We are printing lawn signs for community members to put outside of their homes, to put any merchants of intolerance on notice that their message has no audience here AND to signal our support to our neighbors from marginalized communities. [We should add language here about how to contribute to this effort through CCR]
We will be hosting a number of forums to educate the community of the number and nature of hate groups operating locally in our home state, as well as to educate parents and other community members on the various recruiting methods used and the warning signs to watch for to determine whether someone is coming under the sway of white supremacists.
The members of SOMA Against Hate are:
Council on American Islamic Relations of NJ
Congregation Beth El
First Baptist Church of South Orange
First Presbyterian & Trinity Church
Morrow Methodist Church
Oheb Shalom Congregation
Prospect Presbyterian Church
South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race
Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel
If you would like a sign, please reach out to us or one of the organizations above.