TRENTON – State Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union, issued the following statement today at a State House news conference regarding hatred and bigotry broadcast on New Jersey talk radio station 101.5 during their afternoon radio program:
“On February 16, 2007, Craig Carton uttered words over the airways on NJ 101.5 that have brought people together of diverse faiths, ethnicity, race and sexual orientation and identity to combat hate and bigotry. When Mr. Carton said that ‘half the Polacks joined the Nazis to do what? Kill Jews,’ he hurt me and thousands of others of my heritage.
“But it is a heritage so rich in character that it withstood the adversity of centuries of war and partitions and Nazi and Communist occupation. The heritage of Pope John Paul II, Madame Curie, Niclas Kopernik (commonly known as Copernicus), Generals Pulaski and Kosciuszko, Fryderyk Chopin and Irena Sender will not be broken by force of might nor by words of hate. Nor will the heritage of John and Stephanie Lesniak.
“I’m proud to announce today the formation of the Coalition to Fight Hate and Bigotry.
“Our first goal is to inform the public and the investors in Millenium Radio and its sponsors, of the hate and bigotry broadcast almost daily on its afternoon shows on NJ 101.5.
“We want to emphasize that this does not include the news or other shows on the station. We do not want the others to have to wear the badge of hate and bigotry established by the Jersey Guys, who unfortunately do not hesitate to tarnish groups of human beings for the actions of a few.
“New Jersey has a rich history of tolerance and diversity. We were among the first to ban State investments in South Africa to fight apartheid and to pass a law against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. We were also among the first to guarantee a thorough and efficient education to every child regardless of where they live, the color of their skin or the country where their parents were born.
“The owners and sponsors of NJ 101.5 need to recognize this rich history and act in accordance with it.
“Our goal today is to educate. We’re not advocating a boycott, nor asking for any specific action other than one: we ask that the investors and sponsors of NJ 101.5 search their conscience and apply their moral beliefs to their contributions to the almost daily hate and bigotry broadcast on NJ 101.5.
“While this coalition was established to fight hate and bigotry on NJ 101.5, it will stay together to continue a dialogue to promote understanding among its diverse membership.
“I was moved to do something when the hate and bigotry of the Jersey guys was directed at my heritage. I was dismayed when they previously directed their hate and bigotry at women suffering from post-partum depression, when they directed their hate and bigotry against gay and transgender individuals, and against Latinos and Asian-Americans. I was dismayed and angered, but did nothing. It took an attack against my heritage for me to take action. I was mistaken. Hate and bigotry directed against one is, and will ultimately be, directed at all.”