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Englewood Cliffs’ Mayor Tries to Fine Resident for Peacefully Protesting Housing Segregation

Posted by Elorm Ocansey on August 28th 2020

Fair Share Housing Center issued the following statement in response to the news reports about Englewood Cliffs’ attempt to fine residents for exercising their constitutional right to protest.

“In sending resident Emily Gil a $2,500 bill after she organized a peaceful protest calling for Englewood Cliffs to meet its fair housing obligations, Mayor Mario M. Kranjac has once again revealed that he will do whatever it takes to maintain segregation and to try to suppress and silence the voices of those who are outraged by the town’s unlawful attempts to avoid its fair housing obligations. The Borough’s refusal to reckon with its housing policies has led to fierce racial and socio-economic segregation that is shameful and has harmed the life chances of working New Jerseyans, who are disproportionately Black and Latinx,” said Fair Share Housing Deputy Director Rev. Eric Dobson.

“Despite the Mount Laurel doctrine requiring every New Jersey town to provide its fair share of affordable housing, Englewood Cliffs has not provided a single home that is affordable to working families - not one single home - in almost half a century,” Rev. Dobson added.

Earlier this year, after Fair Share Housing Center took the Borough to trial, Superior Court Judge Christine Farrington found that the Borough had acted to deny the constitutional rights of lower-income households in New Jersey for over forty years and had demonstrated “a clear pattern of exclusionary behavior.” She ordered the Borough to provide a realistic opportunity for 347 affordable homes, and she stripped the Borough of its zoning powers due to its refusal to voluntarily comply with its constitutional obligations.

“Thanks to the bold action of individuals such as Emily Gil, Mayor Kranjac’s attempts to stand in the doorway and to block affordable homes for working families from being built in Englewood Cliffs will not go unopposed,” Rev. Dobson said.

“Throughout this country’s history, there have been figures like Kranjac that would stop at nothing in order to try to maintain segregation and deny opportunity to Black people and others who have been disproportionately hurt by the exclusionary policies that Englewood Cliffs has pursued. In this moment of national reckoning, it is important that we all stand up and speak out and demand justice. Fair Share Housing Center will continue to do its part to ensure that Englewood Cliffs is brought into full and swift compliance with its fair housing obligations.”