Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Local law enforcement, community members host forum on racial healing in Atlantic County

Local law enforcement, community members host forum on racial healing in Atlantic County


Pictured from left are Md Abdul Jamil, Suhel Ahmed, Dharmendra Patel, Robert Laws, Imam Umar Salahuddin, Avanzar Director of Social Justice Deborah Hamani, Sheriff Eric Scheffler, Asad Chaudley, Atlantic City Councilman Muhammad Anjum Zia, Pastor Rosalio Pagoada, Dr. Pedro Santana, Atlantic City police Officer Huan Le, Officer Sayed Shah and Chaplain Louis Strugala.

Law enforcement, local community leaders and officials from Avanzar met Wednesday for a forum on racial healing in Atlantic County.

County Sheriff Eric Scheffler, along with leaders from the Pakistani, Bangladesh, African American, Hispanic, Vietnamese, Indian, white and law enforcement communities “discussed the importance of not allowing people to divide races through hate and fear and were committed to bringing everyone together as one,” according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Office.

The forum focused on how law enforcement can help bridge the gap and heal relationships between law enforcement and communities of diverse ethnicities, according to the release.

During the meeting, which lasted over an hour, each participant spoke about their culture’s ideals and beliefs, officials said.

“You are not responsible for the cut if someone injures you; but your body takes on the responsibility to heal the wound,” Deborah Hamani, director of social justice for Avanzar, told the participants.

All participants agreed that to move forward, people must heal themselves first, according to the release.

“When diverse groups like this one assemble to communicate, we are truly able to bring healing and unity to our communities,” Scheffler said.

The group committed to hold several additional meetings prior to the National Day of Racial Healing on Jan. 19, according to the release. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation will host the event for the fifth consecutive year.

Avanzar, the sheriff and community leaders believe that healing is the process of restoration and must be the starting point to truly improve race relations and transformation, officials said.

Officials encouraged everyone in the community to sign Avanzar’s petition for a New Jersey Day of Racial Healing at and to join the National Day of Racial Healing event that will be held remotely. For more information, visit

Contact: 609-272-7241

Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

Related to this story

The best local coverage, unlimited

Sign up for a digital subscription to The Press of Atlantic City now and take advantage of a great offer.


Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Soon we will no longer integrate with Facebook for story comments. The commenting option is not going away, however, readers will need to register for a FREE site account to continue sharing their thoughts and feedback on stories. If you already have an account (i.e. current subscribers, posting in obituary guestbooks, for submitting community events), you may use that login, otherwise, you will be prompted to create a new account.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


Breaking News