"... silence in the face of hate is at best a sign of surrender, and at worst amounts to complicity."
Swastikas Painted on Quaker School and Meeting Property Over Spring Break
April 3, 2022
Haddonfield, NJ - Haddonfield’s Quakers invited the local community to replace symbols of hate found on their property with symbols of kindness, tolerance, and peace. Swastikas were spray painted on trees in the historic Quaker graveyard. These hate symbols faced not just the Quaker meetinghouse, but a preschool.
Both the Haddonfield Friends School and the Haddonfield Friends Meeting, the religious body, use the property. The school has students ranging from age 2 through the eighth grade, and was on spring break during the vandalism.
Although these hate symbols were covered and the police were contacted, this religious group famous for activism, toleration and peace did more: It invited the local community to decorate the desecrated area with symbols of peace, love and tolerance before students returned to the property on Monday morning.
The meeting also decided to contact media outlets to report on this disturbing vandalism. “I believe that silence in the face of hate is at best a sign of surrender, and at worst amounts to complicity,” wrote Dave Austin, the meeting’s clerk, in an online statement. “Intolerance festers and metastasizes in darkness and silence: it depends and feeds upon apathy and indifference.”
The event coincided with a special planting of a sapling provided from the 500- to 600-year old Salem Peace Tree, which fell in 2019 on the Salem Friends Meeting’s property in Salem, New Jersey. Quaker meetings throughout South Jersey were provided with these invaluable saplings.
Community action - Images of peace, kindness and love covering desecrated trees.
April 1, 2022
To our Friends community:
On the morning of Friday, April 1, members of the Haddonfield Friends Meeting discovered two swastikas spray painted on trees located on either side of the entrance to our graveyard which faces the meetinghouse. We believe this crime happened sometime between Monday and Thursday morning.
The Haddonfield police had already been contacted and are now investigating. We will be following up with them.
After speaking with the leadership of the Haddonfield Friends School, the decision was made to cover these disgusting symbols of hate with paint so that the students and staff of the school wouldn’t have to deal with seeing them. That has been taken care of.
With the advice and assistance of our communications team, we have been in touch with local media outlets in the hope that they will report on this. I believe that silence in the face of hate is at best a sign of surrender, and at worst amounts to complicity.
Even though we are Quakers, there are times when we cannot and should not be silent.
It is a sad fact that hate crimes of all kinds, especially incidents involving antisemitic hate, have been on the rise in recent years across our state and our country, including locally.
No matter what the possible motivation for this incident might have been, we must as a community come together to stand against it. Intolerance festers and metastasizes in darkness and silence: it depends and feeds upon apathy and indifference. Each of us can play a part in preventing that from happening.
We will keep you updated on any further news regarding this incident. In the meantime, let us all hold our entire community in the Light, in the hope that healing can happen and that love and justice can prevail.
If you have additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Haddonfield Friends Meeting
(856) 428 - 6242
NOTE: The clerk of the meeting is the temporary elected head of the meeting. Quakers operate without clergy or ministers.
"... there are times when we cannot and should not be silent."
Haddonfield Friends Meeting (Religious Society of Friends - Quakers)
47 Friends Avenue, Haddonfield, New Jersey 08033, United States of America
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