To their credit, most residents realized this. For there was no pervasive outcry for rioters’ blood. In fact, one businessperson, when asked about the broken window, didn't address the question, but rather expressed gratitude that no one was hurt in the store.
A great deal of effort was made to defuse the situation, including the work done by the Teaneck Inter-religious Council, the Black Clergy Council of Englewood and Vicinity (including ministers who came from Hackensack and Paterson). The Teaneck City Council, the NAACP, the Rainbow Coalition, and various youth groups – especially the college students who took to the streets to rap with the youngsters in certain “hot spots.”
From Wednesday morning, April 11, when youngsters crammed into the auditorium at Teaneck High and eloquently expressed themselves and drafted demands, they have acted with maturity, wisdom, and patience. Teaneck should be proud of its young people.
From the beginning, day and night, everybody has been willing to meet, talk, listen, and plan.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson was given an enthusiastic reception on his two visits to Teaneck, and there has been an eagerness to give sincere consideration to his ideas and suggestions.
In light of the reception the Rev. Al Sharpton received in Howard Beach, the town’s reaction to Sharpton’s recent march in Teaneck was commendable – No jeering, hissing, or name calling, just tolerance and restraint.
When all of these pieces are put together, there emerges a promising picture indeed.
Can Teaneck rise to the challenge? There are positive signs that say yes. Teaneck has a history of trying to face its problems and resolve them. The most notable example was the integration of its schools in the Sixties by a vote of the people of the township.
There is a sea of goodwill that overwhelms the streams of bigotry and intolerance, and always compelling is the enlightened self-interest factor. Teaneck residents have made substantial investments, human and otherwise, in this town. Enlightened self-interests dictate that maximum effort be put forth to protect and enhance those investments. This can be done only when peace, justice, goodwill, and mutual respect prevail.