Readers Write: Everyone in Great Neck needs to be heard

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As a resident of Great Neck for over 50 years, I have consistently worked within this community to bring people together. Anyone in this community who knows me is completely aware that, in every capacity, I have spent decades working with community leaders of all faiths to ensure that we celebrate and honor diversity and provide opportunities to work together and build a stronger community. I’ve done this work in partnership with Rabbi Robert Widom of Temple Emmanuel and other friends within this community who share the same values that I do. People who fundamentally believe and practice creating a community that provides space and opportunity for people of all races and faith to thrive and contribute.

My desire to see a community that honors and respects all residents is the reason why I wanted to join with James Wu and Harold Citron. Our vision was to bring community back to the Village of Great Neck, where people who have lived in this community for years do not have to feel uncomfortable in their own community.

Our goal was to create transparency and restore competence, integrity and morale in Village Hall and village government. Our vision for the future of Great Neck is not about spreading hate and division. The reality is there are people who have raised their children in this community and have been here for decades and they need to be heard. There are good people in Great Neck from various walks of life and our goal was to foster inclusiveness, acceptance and respect for all residents.

As long as I am a resident of Great Neck, I will continue to advocate for what I believe is right. I have been in this community since 1965 and I have watched people be completely pushed out and people who left on their own because they no longer felt welcome. I talk to residents from all ethnic backgrounds that have been here for years and talk about how much they don’t feel like it’s their community any longer. The fact that so many residents feel this way is unacceptable. It is a disgrace to live in a community, pay taxes, and feel that you don’t belong in your own community.

So please know, I want to make it very clear that advocating for all residents is about wanting to live in a community that is inclusive, not divisive. We are all human beings and my hope for the future of Great Neck is compassion will move us towards building a community where everyone feels proud to be a resident.

Julia Shields

Great Neck

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