New Jersey town oversight committee says “thin blue line” on road should go

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HOLMDEL, NJ – Some residents in Monmouth County are upset after the Holmdel Township “Ad Hoc Committee on Human Relations” has deemed the town’s “thin blue line” is a symbol of division, hate, racism and yes, even white supremacy.

“Our objective is to advise our local elected leaders on ways to create a more inclusive community devoid of discrimination. The catalyst for reinstating this ad-hoc committee was the public disagreement over the blue line painted down the middle of Crawfords Corner Road. Current feelings about the Blue Line in Holmdel range from believing it to be a tribute to fallen law enforcement officers to believing it to be a graphic representation of institutional racism,” the committee wrote.

Group says Holmdel suffers from systemic racism

The committee pointed out Holmdel is a community with roots in slavery and that town was historically a racist community.

“The history of racism and discrimination in Holmdel has deep roots. Sadly, Holmdel is not immune from our nation’s history of slavery. However, by understanding that history and acknowledging past harms, we can take steps towards preventing future harm and creating a stronger community,” the committee reported.

You can view the complete report here.

In its report, the committee suggests even the elected members of Holmdel can use some training on how to deal with people of different ethnicities, colors and backgrounds.

“The HRC believes the newly elected members to the HTC should be guided and coached in leading municipal government,” the group said. “In concert with our Township Administration, Human Resources, and NJ League of Municipalities, we recommend online or in person diversity and inclusion training for the HTC. Communicating and working with residents of different ethnicities, cultures, and backgrounds is an essential skill for anyone who is elected to represent the people of Holmdel. Promoting respect and acknowledgement of our differences while avoiding assumptions and stereotypes can be challenging.”

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Removing the thin blue line

The committee said the town’s thin blue line must go and never come back.

“In early November 2016, a quarter-mile long blue line was painted down the center of Crawfords Corner Road in front of Town Hall-Police Headquarters. Permanent road paint was accidentally used instead of temporary paint, which is why the line remains today,” the committee said. “Regardless of the town’s original intent, it is clear that the line means something different today to many.”

Thin blue line represents white supremacy

The group says the thin blue line represents white supremacy.

“The symbol has been appropriated by white supremacists groups and the Blue Line now has the effect of making some members of our community feel unwelcome, and even threatened, in Holmdel,”  the committee added in its report. “The HRC finds this impact unacceptable. It should not be ignored that the Blue Line flag was carried alongside Confederate flags and Nazi insignia by the insurrectionists who breached our Nation’s Capitol on January 6th, 2020. The HRC therefore recommends that the HTC abstain from maintaining Holmdel’s Blue Line. When it comes time for the section of Crawfords Corner Road that contains the blue line to be repaved, we recommend to the governing body that the Blue Line not be replaced. We advise that our roads only be marked for the purposes of traffic safety.”