The statement below is by Freeholder Jonathan Young regarding the passage of S855 renaming “board of chosen freeholders” to “board of county commissioners” in New Jersey.
“Thank you to Senate President Steve Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, and the rest of the leadership in the legislature for supporting and bringing this long overdue change to fruition. Today’s pair of historic votes brings us one step closer to retiring an antiquated name rooted in the disenfranchisement of people of color and women, and which symbolizes the centuries-old dismissal of minority voices in America. Today’s votes are about more than a simple change in terminology, they are symbolic of the progress we continue to make as we strive to live up to the ideals enshrined in the constitution and upon which this country was founded.
For a long time, our culture shrugged off or ignored the impact of certain words and phrases – either because it was tradition that they be used, or because we were ignorant of their origin – and this of course extends far beyond the titles bestowed upon elected officials. I’m proud to see legislative leaders, as well as members of our community across New Jersey, stand up and say that those excuses aren’t going to cut it anymore. The language we use has an impact, and that language should be representative of the inclusivity and diversity that we strive for, not the subjugation that we left behind.
With the governor’s signature expected to come in short order, our team will immediately begin preparing to transition our websites, stationary, and letterheads, to proudly bear our new name come 2021: the board of county commissioners.”