I am the founder and leader of Indivisible Cranbury, and our group is co-hosting a rally in Freehold on Sept. 11. The mayor of Cranbury has written an opinion piece voicing his opposition to the choice of that date for a rally. I would like to address his concerns here.

Sept. 11 will never be forgotten by any of us who lived through it. It was an attack on our country, directed at innocent civilians, and fueled by a hatred of each and every person residing in the United States. These included native born and immigrants, documented and undocumented. The hate was senseless and without distinction.

The rally planned for Sept. 11 is titled “Defund Hate.” Rallies will be held by Indivisible groups throughout the country next week demanding our lawmakers direct the money already allocated for immigration toward humanitarian relief at the southern border, rather than to subsidize additional detention facilities and ICE/CBP agents.

The treatment of immigrants in these facilities by these agents has been designed by this administration to be purposefully cruel, to ensure that “the other” will not come to us seeking respite. As we listen to a president who seeks to instill in us hatred of large swaths of humanity, I am reminded of the type of senseless hate that drove the murderers on 9/11.

Furthermore, this president’s goal is to cement this hate in perpetuity by building a brick and mortar monument to it in the shape of a wall.

What better way to memorialize the innocents lost on 9/11 than to advocate that money earmarked to put hate into action be redirected toward humanitarian relief for the thousands suffering from hardship, seeking a new life in our country? What better way to ensure a peaceful future than to seek to stop inflicting intentional cruelty on families seeking shelter from violence and hunger? What better way to prevent future acts of terrorism than to befriend those who look for help rather than to turn our backs, or even worse, watch them as they become victims to our cruelty?

Additionally, perhaps the mayor has forgotten that our township’s annual celebration, Cranbury Day, was held on Sept. 11 in 2010. A moment of silence was held during that festival to pay respects to those lost on 9/11. Had he reached out to me with his concerns, I could have assured him that as this rally was being planned, we decided to have not just a moment of silence, but to memorialize the sanctity of the day in our opening remarks, and in the prayer the pastor will be giving to close.

I hope those who feel moved to join the mayor in the inaugural candlelight service he proposes will do so, and I hope it continues to be a tradition that will offer solace to those who choose to join it. I also hope that those moved to speak for humanitarian aid for immigrants will join us on Sept. 11 at 4 p.m. at Rep. Chris Smith’s office, 112 Village Center Drive in Freehold.

Editor's note: Laura Zurfluh is the founder of Indivisible Cranbury. The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author.

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