A brief history of One Hillsborough (also known as Community Conversations) so far.


In the Summer of 2018, a handful of individuals got together over breakfast to discuss some concerns about living in Hillsborough. While our town had some definite positives, some practical concerns included: not knowing enough people in our community; not having any contact outside of a tiny group of like-minded; the prevalence domestic violence; substance abuse among youth and adults; bullying; generally feeling lonely or unsafe; and finding our local institutions mostly unable or unwilling to address these concerns. Our breakfasts became a monthly recurring conversation, who, how and what steps could be made to improve our social fabric.


A first public event, Turning the Pages of Hillsborough, was held on June 1st, 2019 at the Hillsborough Public Library. It explored Hillsborough's history of the people, places, and culture. Guest speakers included Beverly Mills and Elaine Bucks, authors of If These Stones Could Talk; HHS students working towards building a catalog of human stories from our town; HHS TED-Ed speakers discussing their own journey and how it relates to history. There were musical and art presentations. Local stakeholders included BOROSafe, Safe+Sound Somerset, the Hillsborough-Millstone Municipal Alliance. The event was well received by the 70 participants, and the breakout sessions were effective in allowing more people to talk to more people while learning about our town.


In January of 2020, Community Conversations and the newly formed HHS Student Diversity Ititiative co-hosted the 4th National Day of Racial Healing at the media center of Hillsborough High School to bring people together in our common humanity and take collective action to create a more just and equitable world. This day was established in 2017 by more than 550 leaders from around the United States and is supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

HHS students facilitated the break-out sessions and art students shared some of their art on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Covid-19 ground everything to a halt in March 2020. School, meetings, and work moved mostly online for the next 15 months, and our conversations also continued through zoom. An online guided dialogue in six sessions about race was held online. Ten weeks later, Black Lives Matter demonstrations erupted throughout the country. Hundreds of Hillsborough locals attended the demonstration and kneeled in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to commemorate the murder of George Floyd around the intersection of Amwell Road and Route 206 on June 6, 2020. 

2021 – 2022

As in-person life slowly resumed, Community Conversations participated in the Hillsborough Mental Health fairs in February of 2021 and May of 2022. As our conversational community grew and became more diverse, a private social network was added to provide additional ways for more people to stay informed and connected without the need to always attend an event or meeting in person.

Two private screenings were held of the documentary Me, The Other with the movie’s director Majidi’s attending through zoom and later in person. The movie was subsequently shown in other local venues.

In June, we participated at the inaugural and second Juneteenth commemorations in Somerville and the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum in Skillman respectively.

Some serious local incidents involving our own local institutions came to our attention:

  • student censorship over a Black Lives Matter poster at the Hillsborough Middle School
  • two local police-involved fatal shooting incidents (January and March 2022)
  • racial harassment of an African American family by a white neighbor for over two years without an appropriate remedy from the Hillsborough PD or the County Prosecutor's Office
  • mis-reporting and suspected bias by some police officers

After attending a formal Hillsborough Township Committee meeting to share some of these concerns, two informal meetings were held with the Mayor, the Township Administrator and Police Department representatives. Community Conversations advocated for review, how to better tackle assistance for families being harassed by their neighbors and how to try to find (at least partial) solutions with more public engagement. As of December 2022, most of these incidents are unresolved.

In the Summer of 2022, Community Conversations decided collectively to rename our loosely knit community to One Hillsborough and get slightly more organized and connect with the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, the NJ Division on Civil Rights, and filed formal complaints with the NJ Division of Criminal Justice.

As the harassment case had been ongoing without resolution and questions lingered about the reporting bias within parts of the Police Department, Community Conversations engaged in stronger advocacy and attended another formal Township Committee meeting on September 13th, 2022, to reinforce strong support for diversity, equity, inclusion and taking a stand against racism and bigotry. The Hillsborough Township Committee appointed a liaison to One Hillsborough to explore ways to collaborate.

[Video (excerpt) of ten citizens speaking about this at https://youtu.be/wGefMBYq5pk?t=1]

One Hillsborough proposed to host a recurring town-wide platform for community conversations in collaboration with Hillsborough Township, community services providers and other organizations to allow for equal communication in a more informal setting, to enable sharing concerns about any topic in our town, and keep this conversation updated three or four times a year. 

Even older signs

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Continued teasing out

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First planned event

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