Memorial Day Mission: Stand Up Against Hate

Photo courtesy Ocean County Prosecutor's Office

OCEAN COUNTY – At mosques, synagogues, and churches this weekend, there will be a common refrain: “Love Thy Neighbor.”

They will be urging their congregations to stand up against hatred, racism and anti-Semitism. This is a joint effort between more than 30 faith-based leaders spanning every denomination in Ocean County and the County Prosecutor’s Office.

On Fridays, mosques will spread the message. On Saturday, temples. And on Sunday, churches.

The movement is trying to make people take a step forward and get to know someone who is different from you, whether that difference is based on faith, race, or culture. And hopefully that will “bring back our humanity,” Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said.

There have been instances of bias crimes in the county, he said. There is also defamatory talk among residents, ridiculing various groups either in person or online. There wasn’t any incident that spurred this on, but rather this initiative has grown out of regular meetings with religious leaders.

“Once you understand the culture, you understand the person that much more,” he said. “Whether you’re Muslim, Jewish, or Christian, we’re all human. We need to get along, and sometimes the reason we don’t is we don’t understand enough about each other’s culture.”

This might be the start of a regular series, he said. It was tied to Memorial Day for a few reasons. During the summer, the county’s population swells to 1.2 million, he said. The best time to reach the largest audience was the kick-off of the summer season. Also, on Memorial Day, we remember those who fought for our freedom, and it’s important to reflect on what those soldiers fought for.

Religious leaders have put together two videos to drive home the message. They can be found here: and