When I moved here from Montclair 20 years ago, I came with the hope that Verona would become a community that celebrated and embraced residents regardless of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, language, or ability. Since then, I have rejoiced at the town’s increased diversity. To ensure that all are treated equitably and with respect and dignity, this community shift necessitates self-examination as well as an active commitment to improving socially just practices. I applaud the efforts of the Verona Schools this year as they begin to examine how they are addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion within the district and what changes need to be made to make sure there is no discrimination, prejudice, or bias.
As the population of Verona has diversified, the town leadership has not–it has remained the same and only represents a small percentage of the town demographic.
This municipal election, Verona has an opportunity to elect two highly qualified candidates who represent inclusive and diverse voices: Jason Hyndman and Cynthia Holland. Hyndman, a practicing attorney, husband, father, and member of the Planning Board, brings with him substantial knowledge on issues around redevelopment and land use planning, zoning, and most importantly satisfying New Jersey’s mandated affordable housing obligations
Holland, who is also an attorney, wife, and mother, offers extensive experience in the private and public sectors focused on providing equitable, safe, and consistent access to important resources like electricity and water as well as working at the state level to advocate for a future of clean and sustainable energy. Her expertise and leadership center around issues of environmental justice for everyone in our community.
We are fortunate to have two such experienced and thoughtful candidates who are deeply committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice.
On May 11, I am voting for Jason Hyndman and Cynthia Holland. I hope that you will too and together let’s make sure the leadership of Verona reflects and advocates for ALL members of our community.
Monica Taylor, Ph.D.
Pronouns: She, her, hers
Professor, Department of Educational Foundations,
Montclair State University