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Greenport Village looking to form Hispanic outreach committee

11/22/2016 6:00 AM |

Doug Roberts

A little more than a week after a contentious election ended with Donald Trump’s victory and incidents of harassment surfaced at North Fork schools, the Greenport Village Board took steps at its meeting last Thursday night to assure all residents that they are welcome.

“Everybody has to feel safe here,” Mayor George Hubbard Jr. said. “We don’t want kids being intimidated.”

Bullying incidents related to racially tinged rhetoric were reported at Mattituck and Riverhead schools the week following the election, leading Mattituck administrators to host an anti-bullying assembly on the values of civility.

[Related story: How will Trump win impact North Fork’s immigrant families?]

Members of the Hispanic community have also said they are fearful of how actions taken by Mr. Trump — who has promised to deport as many as three million illegal immigrants — would affect their children. Latinos make up roughly one-third of Greenport residents, according to village officials.

Mr. Hubbard and other board members urged residents who witness harassment or bullying to report it to the authorities, the village trustees themselves, or the village clerk — who is fluent in Spanish. Reports can also be made anonymously, he said.

Village Trustee Mary Bess Phillips said all Greenporters should make sure to look out for one another.

“We’re such a diverse ethnic group, this Village of Greenport,” she said, noting other minority populations in the area. “If we see anybody being picked on, we need to be upfront. We’re a community. We care about you.”

Village Trustee Doug Roberts suggested going a step further. Saying he was saddened by media reports of fear within the Hispanic community, he suggested forming a separate committee that would focus on outreach and togetherness with Latino Greenporters. The group could also set up events like soccer games and large meals, he said.

“There may be federal policies that change the lives of those who live in our village and I would like to see us take an active role in listening,” he said.

Mr. Hubbard said the committee could be an unofficial adviser to the Village Board and wouldn’t need a board resolution to be formed. Mr. Roberts agreed to set up a mission statement for the group and compile a list of volunteers who are interested in joining.

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File photo: Greenport Village Board Trustee Doug Roberts. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

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