The following is the resolution I wrote and that was approved unanimously by the City Council on April 11:
Resolution in Opposition to Hate Crimes and Ugly Free Speech
Whereas Plainfield is known as a diverse community where people who are different from one another live harmoniously together and celebrate their different cultures and beliefs, and
Whereas an anonymous, hateful letter was distributed at city hall in early April, attempting to stigmatize gays and lesbians, and making untrue and libelous assertions about individual elected officials and community activists, and
Whereas the Union County Prosecutors Office has labeled said letter as “ugly free speech”, and
Whereas said letter was distributed in all city hall mailboxes and there have been assertions that it was copied on a city owned/leased copy machine,
Therefore the Plainfield City Council denounces the anonymous letter and urges the Mayor to aggressively take the following actions:
1. Publicly denounce anonymous ugly free speech and hate crimes.
2. Activate the Plainfield Human Relations Commission to take all steps necessary to push back against hate crimes and ugly free speech, including recommendations to the Mayor and Council for ongoing promotion of tolerance, respect and mutual celebration of diversity in Plainfield.
3. Report to Council on April 11 and then in writing by April 15, 2011 the results of internal investigations including when, how and where the anonymous letter was produced and distributed at city hall and who was involved and who observed anything related to the letters production and distribution.
4. Obtain the services of an investigator from county, state or federal law enforcement offices to investigate the possible involvement of city officials and/or staff in the production and distribution of the anonymous letter and if government resources are not available, hire an independent investigator.
By way of this resolution the Plainfield City Council denounces the anonymous letter and all anonymous ugly free speech. All those who feel a need to express themselves regarding other groups or individuals are urged to put their names next to their comments.
Furthermore, the Plainfield City Council deplores the climate of division and fear that is created when people, in bad faith, spread hate anonymously and urges all people of good faith to stand against and speak against discrimination, stigma, prejudice and misinformation. Fear and hate can be stopped by positive action but will grow in the absence of response. At this difficult time, leadership is needed from citizens and elected officials to protect and promote the diversity for which Plainfielders are justly proud.
Hopefully, the Mayor will provide a report on April 15 on the investigations and actions taken to deal with this problem. I will give an update soon after.