You Might Have Seen…

You might have seen my name pop up in a couple other places… Most often I write and publish here on my own blog, but every now and then I try and publish elsewhere. You know, like a real writer. Sometimes stuff I write here gets picked up in syndicated pieces, which is awesome. That was what happened to my most “famous” piece “Jersey Kids and The Halloween Huh?” 

Some of my favorite pieces published in the real world include:

2018:
IT SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE TO GET MY SON TO SPEND THE DAY WITH ME UNTIL I TRIED THIS
Grown and Flown, Contributing Writer

I am Woman, Hear me Vote
The Alternative Press, Editorial

Can We Have Recreational Marijuana Dispensaries, Please?
NJ Spotlight, Editorial

#NoMore, Common Sense Gun Control
The Alternative Press, Editorial

2017: Why Words Matter: Petition to Chatham Borough Council Calling for a Welcoming Resolution
Chatham Courier, News Coverage
The Alternative Press, News Coverage
and Original Text, printed in entirety below.

In early 2002, I moved to Chatham Borough.  I loved this town then, and I love it even more now, and have dedicated a large part of my life to volunteering with various organizations – from the Chatham Education Foundation to the Girl Scouts to the Junior League – to help make our community continue to shine as an example of outstanding and fulfilling small town life.

In 2002 – just weeks after I moved to Chatham – there was an incident of anti-Semitism in the Borough.  I won’t go into detail about that now, but thankfully it was met with a large number of citizens standing up – together – and saying “that is not ok – that is not acceptable – that is not Chatham”.

In that case, the Interfaith Council and other concerned citizens stood together and reaffirmed that the spirit of Chatham is inclusive, kind, and open to all.  As a result, the Diversity Garden of the Chathams broke ground at our Borough train station.  The garden is still there along with a sign that reads:

“Sown with the seeds of hope for an end to prejudice and intolerance”

Now in 2017, 15 years later, we again need to speak out and remind people that Chatham is an inclusive, open-minded place.  There is free speech, yes. I’m not here to criticize those who spoke at the Board of Education meeting earlier this month.  I do have my own differing views on the subject, but all members of the community are of course free to question the Board of Education and present their own perspective about (even state-mandated) curriculum.  But words matter. Intent matters. My concern is about how all this is being perceived.  In an age where political conversation is often reduced to a 140 character tweet, the recent national and international stories about Chatham, our school curriculum, our teachers and administrators, have led to a misimpression that we are a close-minded community, unwilling to accept multiple viewpoints and cultures. Depending on which website or social media platform you read, Chatham is either a town of liberal politically-correct elitists, or Islamaphobic bigots. I attest that we are neither of these.

I come to the Borough Council this evening to ask you to pass a formal resolution reaffirming and reminding the world that Chatham Borough is open and welcoming to all, and that we as a community do not accept intolerance or hatred of any kind.

Again, I am not here to debate about the school curriculum.  We can have that discussion on another day with the School Board.  My point is simply that we need your help to correct mischaracterizations about our town that have been spread across the news and social media.  Regardless of the intent of the original comments, these negative reports have created a misunderstanding about who we are.  Let Chatham serve as a beacon of hope, not a symbol of intolerance.

Respectfully,

Colleen Markley

I take notice. I write words to consider. I invite others to be part of a collective journey. We’re all in this together. Onwards!