Pastor Joseph Woods was the keynote speaker at Hamilton's 17th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. event at Faith Baptist Church Thursday evening. 

In June, Dr. Joseph Woods, pastor of the Saint Phillips Baptist Church in Hamilton, sent a letter to a variety of community leaders in the Hamilton area asking , among other things, how they and the organizations they represent are confronting racism in America and how they plan to address the issue moving forward. 

Following are some excerpts from some of the responses area leaders sent to Pastor Woods:

The members of the Township Council pledge to work to make opportunities for jobs in government and elsewhere more widely known to those who could benefit and thrive from those opportunities. One of our most immediate goals is to continue to increase the diversity of our workforce.

— Hamilton Township Council Members

I delivered a statement on behalf of the Hamilton Township School District proclaiming, “We the Hamilton Township School District, believe Black Lives Matter, and we are putting actions into that belief.” At that time and on two occasions in the weeks before, the Hamilton Township School District restated the aspects of its Strategic Plan that are geared directly toward promoting equality, diversity, and combating racism.

— Scott Rocco, Superintendent of Hamilton School District 

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders stands in solidarity and declares, "Black Lives Matter." No matter where you are, black lives matter, and a system of fair, transformative, and restorative justice that is accountable to communities is something to which each ofus has a right; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders encourages all police departments to continue to engage in good faith efforts to protect and serve their communities utilizing the tools of de-escalation and reform;

— Resolution passed by Mercer County Freeholders 

Attached please find the PDF of some of the bills that have been submitted as priorities by the Legislative Black Caucus regarding decriminalization and social justice reform. These bills are part of a comprehensive package of bills pending in the Legislature.

There are additional bills that have been drafted and are under technical review by OLS.

— Ed Gittens, Chief of Staff, Office of Asw. Verlina Reynolds-Jackson

I am proud to state the Mercer County Sheriff's Office, has a very high level of diversity in both its sworn and civilian employee ranks. While nearly all hiring comes under the strict jurisdiction of the NJ Civil Service Commission and their testing procedures, our agency has an amazingly diverse cadre of leaders, officers, and civilians employees. To that, I am most proud.

— Jack Kemler, Mercer County Sheriff 

See the full responses at

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