Robbinsville Township announced that it will hold a Night of Unity, set for June 7 at 6 p.m. in the Town Center Gazebo. The event will be hosted by the township and Robbinsville-based faith leaders.

The announcement comes on the heels of a statement by Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried, printed in full below:

To my fellow residents of Robbinsville Township,

It is impossible to deny that racism exists.

While we are not proud of this fact, we feel it is our responsibility as a government, as a society and as human beings to do all we can to be part of the change. We are outraged by what has happened, not only in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Ferguson, North Charleston and Atlanta, but in communities all over the United States when people are brutalized, murdered, shot and otherwise treated unfairly. In law enforcement, the taking of another person’s life should ALWAYS be a last resort and never something any of us should be desensitized to.

Making sure our officers are properly trained is of paramount importance. That is why I wanted to construct the first live-fire simulator in the state, so that we could have the best trained officers when it comes to de-escalation and “shoot/don’t shoot” scenarios. Taking a life should be avoided at all costs, and we can only have that assurance if our officers are properly trained.

We are allowed to feel more than one thing at once. We should all be outraged by recent events and free to protest peacefully, while at the same time supporting our local law enforcement, which took an oath to keep us safe. I am proud of the RTPD and have the utmost confidence in them. We have spent years working on community policing, and as a result Robbinsville has one of the safest and most diverse communities in the region.

I ask everyone to pray for our nation. We need to do better and we owe it to the next generation to make sure this world is a better place for them. We will only accomplish this by working together and allowing love⁠—not hate⁠—to flourish.

Join us Sunday at the West Town Center Lake Gazebo at 6 p.m. for a “Night of Unity” – a cooperative effort between Robbinsville Township and local faith-based leaders. Social distancing and masks will be required.

Most sincerely,

Mayor Dave Fried

***

Fried posted the statement to his Facebook page. While many commenters supported the action, others questioned the vague nature of the event and Fried’s statement—much of which focuses on law enforcement.

“Is this event for All Lives Matter or Black Lives Matter?” asked Rakhi Upadhyay, who was a candidate for Robbinsville Township Council last year. “I’m trying to understand the theme of the event.

“While I greatly appreciate the sentiment, Robbinsville PD has a reputation for pulling over people of color,” one person said. What is being done to stop the racial profiling?”

“Just to clarify—is this a unity event to support our law officers or unity with the black community in protesting racism?” another asked.