By County Executive Ed Day
Rockland County is home to 320,000 people who trace their roots to every corner of the globe. Our culture is enriched and our towns and villages are blessed by this diversity. And, though we are a diverse group, we are all one people sharing common hopes for safe neighborhoods, good jobs, great schools and strong families.
Unfortunately, however, Rockland County has been beset by division of the worst kind of late. Some take rhetoric too far and give in to stereotyping, while others engage in personal attacks at even the slightest suggestion that the law should apply equally to all segments of the community.
As your County Executive, I am keenly sensitive to the fact that our residents may pray differently or not pray at all. I cherish the fact that we can pray freely in our own way, because our founding fathers wisely envisioned and provided for a nation grounded in the principle of separation of church and state.
Since taking office in January, I have spent many hours visiting each of our multi-faceted communities to promote dialogue, create trust and build bridges to a brighter future. Whether it be at a church, chapel, synagogue or mosque; whether in Ramapo, Clarkstown, Haverstraw, Orangetown, or Stony Point, I will continue to bring people together, not in confrontation but in trust, to tackle the critical issues facing our county.
I have been clear to all that there will be equal treatment for all and special preference for none. That has been the firm policy of my administration since January 1st. I remind all that President Lincoln in quoting the scriptures said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
It is my duty to treat all Rockland County residents equally regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. I will not allow divisive rhetoric to diminish the spirit of that duty. I am proud to be the leader of a county that is one of the most diverse in the nation – a microcosm for the great melting pot that is the United States.
Despite the many challenges we face in this county, I see a bright future ahead for all of our people. What binds us together is profoundly stronger than what could ever set us apart. Let’s work together to promote understanding and tolerance of all religions. My door will continue to be open to all who come in good faith to build a better Rockland County.