To the Editor:

If Not Now, When?

Imagine that as you sleepily go out to retrieve your morning newspaper you find a small bag on your lawn.  Curious, you pick it up and find that it is a sand-filled bag with a leaflet. "Harmless trash," you may think.  Trash it is, but harmless it is not. It is a small "bomb of hate," meant to frighten you with its message against minorities.

More and more of these hate notes are appearing in Monmouth County and throughout the state.  The perpetrators seek to frighten the victims and to recruit more members for their groups.

We on the Monmouth County Human Relations Commission deplore this hate literature and the spreading of its vile message. Even though it may not be illegal, it can be dangerous in its purpose of inciting crimes against minority citizens.  

Silence encourages the tormentors. If you are a victim, report the incident to your local police department.  File a littering complaint. Members of the public can assist the police officers by being their "eyes and ears."   If  you see someone dropping these bags or in a similar activity, try to get a license number or as much description as possible of the car and occupants. Report your information to the police.

Hate groups prey on  vulnerable people, both as victims and as potential  members. The majority of the perpetrators are under the age of  21. Our local schools are addressing  the issues directly with students.

Not one of us should have to live in fear or embarrassment about who we are or  what we might find on our lawns,  written on our homes, or shouted at us.

The Monmouth County Human Relations Commission is available through our Speakers' Bureau: (732) 291-4257; Web page:, and   bias problem hot line: (732) 303-7666. We ask members of all community groups, both minority and majority, to speak out with us. Do not invoke your "right to silence" on this issue. Talk to your neighbors; reach out. We must defuse these "bombs of hate."  "If not now, when?"


Joan Brearley, Chairperson
Carolyn Schwebel, Communications Chairperson