Challenging Bayonne to do better

Rev. Dorothy Patterson spoke directly to the city in a video address

Mayor James Davis released another COVID-19 video update on June 4, but this time, it wasn’t about COVID-19.

Davis yielded his time to Rev. Dorothy Patterson of Bayonne’s Wallace Temple AME Zion Church to speak about the current situation regarding race in the country after the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

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After Junior Meteorologist Colin Schaefer’s popular weather update, Davis said a few words.

“We all see what’s going on in our country and around the world today,” he said. “I think it’s important that as a community we come together.”

Patterson briefly thanked Davis for the opportunity before getting right to the issues at hand. She said she was deeply saddened and disturbed by the killing of George Floyd and other black people in this country.

Floyd died when Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. Floyd was pronounced dead, and Chauvin was charged with manslaughter and murder.

The charges were eventually upgraded to second-degree unintentional murder, and three other officers who were on scene were arrested and charged after mass demonstrations across the country.

Eradicate racist behavior

“Black lives do matter,” Patterson said. “I believe I live in a town that is respectful enough and mature enough and loving enough to come together for the cause of justice.”

Patterson recalled when she first arrived in Bayonne and joined the Interfaith Association. She was welcomed graciously by faith leaders, giving her first sermon outside of Wallace Temple at Temple Bethlehem.

Patterson remembers her sermon, in which she called for everyone to search daily for the best person within themselves to make a better world.

Patterson is now challenging every Bayonne resident to do so, saying that the community is no better than each resident.

Patterson asked each resident to search out racist thoughts and behavior and vow to eradicate them in their own minds, in the minds of the people around them, and in the community.

“We will see our community transform into a better place each time we do this,” Patterson said. “Let’s set a standard for a way the community treats each other.”

“We can build a better Bayonne, one breath at a time,” she said.

Patterson acknowledged that there are “awesome individuals in Bayonne who know what it means when it’s justice for all.”

Davis ended the video by reiterating a catchphrase he commonly used during COVID-19, but with a new meaning.

“We are all in this together,” Davis said, “not just during the COVID-19 pandemic but also in everything we do as humans.”

Bayonne is as diverse as it’s ever been, according to Davis, and it’s time to come together as a community and stand strong as one.

For updates on this and other stories, check and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at

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