Riverhead’s Anti-Bias Task Force looking for members

John Dunleavy of Riverhead
Riverhead Councilman John Dunleavy is the liaison to the Anti-Bias Task Force. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Riverhead Town’s Anti-Bias Task Force is back — and it’s looking for members. 

The organization will hold a meeting at Town Hall next Tuesday, Sept. 30, to welcome old members and encourage others to join. The group will also screen an Academy Award-nominated short documentary from 1995 called “The Shadow of Hate.”

The task force was originally created in 2007, but has not met in several years. It was revived in response to a string of attacks and robberies in downtown Riverhead — most targeting Hispanic men — and seeks to promote tolerance and understanding among the different communities and cultures in town.

“Riverhead is a diverse area,” said Councilman John Dunleavy, who serves as the town’s liaison to the task force. “I want about 10 to 12 people on it, with diversity … so we can all sit down and really talk about what’s happening in Riverhead.”

So far, Mr. Dunleavy is one of a handful of existing task force members, who also include Louise Wilkinson and Sister Margaret Smyth of the North Fork Spanish Apostolate.

Sister Margaret said she is hoping someone from the Hispanic community will join her on the task force, though she admitted it is difficult since many are working into the night during the harvest season.

“The goal of [the meeting] is to invite people in and then see how many people would commit to being on it,” she said. “I really want to look for somebody who’s English-speaking to get them on board with me.”

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