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News from the BHDC - May, 2021

The Berkeley Heights Diversity Council has been very busy engaging in our community and there's more planned. Enjoy these highlights of our recent engagements and upcoming BHDC and community events, details for each below:

Happening Now:

  • Asian American Heritage Month - sponsored by the BH YMCA

  • BHPD Coffee With a Cop - in your neighborhood! Dates & locations listed here

  • CMS Diversity Festival - BHDC participating in BH School District event on Friday, May 21

Summaries of recent events:

  • March Listening Session with BHPD

  • #StopAsianHate Rally - March 27

  • BHDC #StopAsianHate Statement

  • Woman of the Week (WOW) Series for Women's History Month

Coming Soon:

  • Celebrating Pride with the BH YMCA - Friday, June 11

  • One Book/One Community - Community Book Read - Partnering with BH School District

  • Listening Sessions Planned with BOE

  • BHPD Annie Young Academy - Fall 2021


  • MLK Jr Day of Service Diaper Drive for Moms Helping Moms

  • BHDC Speaks at Berkeley Heights Rotary Club

We are working towards helping make Berkeley Heights the most open and welcoming community in New Jersey. Join us! Please spread the word, forward this email and please participate in BHDC and community events. Please let us know if you'd like to be more actively involved - we are always looking for volunteers to help out! Email BHDC at

Asian American Heritage Month

These programs are sponsored and hosted by the Berkeley Heights YMCA. Contact them directly about registering for each individual offering throughout the series to celebrate API communities and become a better ally!

This Asian Pacific Islander (API) Heritage Month, join the Asian Pacific Islander Leadership Network for a weekly learning series to better understand the vastness of API history and culture and help build a destruction (a group of wild cats) of solidarity to take a stance against hate, racism, and white supremacy in all its forms.

Roar With Us: Asian Pacific Islander Culture

Wed, May 19, 2:00pm - 3:30pm CST

Celebrate and learn more about Asian Pacific Islander (API) cultures as we cover topics of food, music and dance, and holidays and celebrations.

Roar With Us: Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling

Wed, May 25, 2:00pm - 3:30pm CST

Join a conversation about how you can take control of your career path. Insights, tips and resources on navigating the barriers being an API in the workplace.

For more resources and information, join the APILN Facebook Group and follow APILN on Link.

Coffee with a Cop - Berkeley Heights Police Community Policing Unit

Join the BHPD for some coffee and conversation on the following days and the BHPD comes to you!

Columbia Middle School Diversity Festival - May 21

On Friday, May 21, the Berkeley Heights School District is hosting a Diversity Festival for students at Columbia Middle School. The BHDC will partner with the schools and will participate in the event - we can't wait! It will be an outdoor, school-wide event for students (only students though, it's not open to the public).

Celebrating Pride - June 11th

The Berkeley Heights YMCA is again partnering with the Governor Livingston SAGA Club to plan a PRIDE event on June 11, 2021 at Lower Columbia Park from 4:30-6:30. The BHDC is excited to partner and participate with the GL SAGA Club and the Berkeley Heights YMCA again to support efforts to bring this to the community. There will be raffle giveaways and games for all. Please join us and support your community!

Listening Session with BHPD - March 24, 2021

On Wednesday, March 24, the BHDC co-hosted a very well attended Listening Session with the Berkeley Heights Police Department. We offered residents an opportunity to meet our new Berkeley Heights Police Chief, Jason Massimino. It was also an opportunity to meet the three new Probationary Patrol Officers Natalie Santillo, Anthony Triguero, and Pooja Patel who shared what inspired them to become Police Officers

As always, it was an open and welcoming opportunity for residents to speak out, be heard and learn more about continuing to create additional welcomeness in Berkeley Heights. It will continue to be through these kinds of open dialogues that Berkeley Heights will continue to become more and more open and welcoming to all.

#StopAsianHate Rally - March 27

The BHDC participated in the #StopAsianHate Rally in Berkeley Heights on Saturday, March 27. It was a powerful event, full of passionate & inspiring speakers.

"We are here today because hate crimes and harassment against Asian American Pacific Islanders has been steadily rising," said Angus Chen, rally organizer. "We are here because we are sick and tired of hearing words of hate. We are here because we need to grieve. We need to share, we need to listen, and we need to take action.We are here because we are one country, one community and what affects some of us affects us all." A full summary of the Rally can be found here.

We are proud to share that BHDC Executive Board member and co-founder, Ayana Joseph, was included as one of the many speakers at the Rally. In case you missed it, please watch the video of Ayana.

#StopAsianHate Statement

The Berkeley Heights Diversity Council felt compelled to speak out again recently against Asian hate. The BHDC urges residents to stand together against any and all acts of hate towards Asian Americans.

Please join us in supporting our neighbors by engaging and offering meaningful ways to intentionally educate and communicate with one another. We need to continue to come together as a more welcoming community of mutual respect. Please email the BHDC ( if you have an idea, and we will support it.

Woman of the Week (WOW) Series

In honor of the women who are driving change, blazing trails and nurturing society, the Berkeley Heights Diversity Council was excited to celebrate Women’s History Month by bringing back our inspiring “Woman of the Week (WOW)” series this March.

WOW honored women right here in Berkeley Heights who are impacting the world in their own way. Community members nominated women who live or work in Berkeley Heights and out of so many wonderful choices, the BHDC selected four to honor this year: Sue Seto, Tiffany Escott, Marguerite Ferrell and Laurie Liming.

We were inspired by reading about their stories and hope you will be too.

One Book/One Community - Community Book Read Coming Soon

The Berkeley Heights School District is planning “One Book/One Community” a community book read for this summer. The book will be “How to be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi. Watch for more details here and plan to join us as we all read this book at the same time.

Listening Sessions - Continuing to Create Safe Space of Open Community Dialogue in Berkeley Heights

We strongly believe that continuing to offer open and welcoming dialogue about tough topics will be critical to creating a more open and welcoming community in Berkeley Heights. Creating these safe spaces for members of the community to connect, talk about ways to bring our community together and air concerns is something the the BHDC has been doing for over 6 years.

We have continued to create those safe spaces during COVID by hosting a series of Listening Sessions in the community, some with specific focus such as with the Berkeley Heights Police and with the Berkeley Heights School District.

Those virtual Listening Sessions started in June of 2020 and will continue quarterly to continue to allow our community to gather, connect and speak out in a safe space.

Specifically, the BHDC and BH School District are planning another Community Listening Session to be held online soon. These continue to be safe, open opportunities to create needed community dialogue between residents and the BH School District and the Board of Education. Watch for the date and please plan to join us.

BHPD Launches "Annie Young Academy" - Fall 2021

The Berkeley Heights Police Department recently announced the launch of the "Annie Young Academy", a program aimed at educating Berkeley Heights residents about police operations.

The BHDC encourages you to participate alongside us as many of our Executive Board members are planning to attend the program. We will let you know when registration opens up. We are looking forward to this inside view into the inner workings of the BHPD. The program will demonstrate how deescalation, unarmed tactics, practical training scenarios, use of body cameras and vehicular stops are used.

"The Berkeley Heights Police Department is honored to be able to launch this program for Berkeley Heights residents in Annie Young's name," said BHPD Chief Jason Massimino. "We are aiming to enhance our relationship with the community we serve by shining a light into the operations of the police department and enhancing transparency to how we operate within this great community."

Full details about the program are available in TAPinto Berkeley Heights.

Update: Moms Helping Moms Diaper Drive for BHDC Annual MLK Jr Day of Service

As part of this year's Annual MLK Jr Day of Service, the BHDC led a Diaper Drive to benefit Moms Helping Moms, a New Jersey Baby Supply and Diaper Bank. The drive was a great success and we are grateful to all who donated so generously. We'd like to share the communication we received from Moms Helping Moms. This is service in action and we appreciate your generosity. Thank you!!

Dear Toiya and members of the Berkeley Heights Diversity Council,

Thank you for selecting Moms Helping Moms as your charity of choice for the Martin Luther King Service Project. We are so very grateful to the members of the community who contributed to the diaper drive and we wanted to provide final numbers to you now that the donations from your virtual drive have arrived at our warehouse. Your collection yielded 2,230 diapers, 2,828 wipes, 167 hygiene products, 128 period products and 51 diaper bags! We are so thankful for your support of our mission of providing essentials to low-income families throughout NJ. Diaper drives such as this not only brings in much needed supplies it also helps raise awareness about diaper need in our communities.

Thank you again and I hope we can work again together in the future!


Moms Helping Moms

BHDC Speaks at Berkeley Heights Rotary Club's May Meeting

The BHDC was honored to be offered an opportunity to speak at the Berkeley Heights Rotary Club meeting in May. It was a great chance to give an overview of all that the BHDC has been doing over the past 7 years and talk about possible ways for the organizations to work together in the future.

To learn more about all that the Berkeley Heights Rotary Club does, we encourage you to visit their website.

The Berkeley Heights Diversity Council was founded to honor and embrace the diverse cultures and perspectives within Berkeley Heights. Our goal is to spread awareness and foster inclusion.

The BHDC is open and welcoming to all who reside in Berkeley Heights wishing to celebrate the diversity of our great town together and can be found online at and reached at

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