Inaugural Town-Wide Community Conversation

One Hillsborough held its first town-wide platform for community conversations on January 20th, 2023, from 6–9 p.m. at the Hillsborough municipal building to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy of civil engagement, social justice and service to a greater good.


About seventy Hillsborough residents, students, community leaders, police and other stakeholders came together to listen, share experiences and exchange ideas on what works well and what could or should be improved in our community.

Mayor Lipani at MLK2023After initial welcome remarks, representatives of various institutions and organizations introduced our four topics for the night. Mayor Lipani spoke of government, police Chief McMahon shared some thoughts on the police department, education was introduced by Assistant Superintendent Feltre, and community involvement received remarks from Naz Cattelona, representing the Hillsborough YMCA Board, and Raina James, representing Hillsborough High School’s Student Diversity Initiative. 


Student artwork for MLK2023Some additional notable characteristics of the night included the exhibit of Hillsborough student’s artwork (see the photo collection of the event) celebrating Martin Luther King, the presence of all four additional Township Committee Members, the attendance of ten Hillsborough Police Officers, the Middle School principal, multiple teachers, and additional community organizations with information tables: the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum, BoroSAFE, the Hillsborough-Millstone Municipal Alliance, and the NJ Division on Civil Rights.


Breakout group at MLK2023A brief program break –refreshments courtesy of the Hillsborough Education Association–  allowed for participants to walk to four large Post-It boards to ponder and share their views on “What is going well” and “Where is there room for improvement?” on the four specific topics for the night. Four breakout groups were then formed to engage in a facilitated discussion on issues facing the community. Student Diversity Initiative co-facilitators were on hand, as were dedicated scribes to take notes. After well over an hour of earnest conversations and reflections, group summaries were shared and special guest Mrs. Patricia Williamson of the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights shared some observations on the importance of residents being engaged in their towns civic life. 

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From most accounts, this inaugural town-wide community conversation seems to have accomplished the dual goal of fostering dialogue among and between community and leadership, and add to the growing recognition of One Hillsborough as a group platform for advocacy and activism, particularly on behalf of the unheard and underrepresented.

After the event, the Post-It boards were combined with the discussion notes of each group to generate written summaries for each of the night’s topics. These summaries have been sent to all participants and institutional representatives and are available here: government, public safety, education, community involvement. The full report covering all topics and Post-It boards is also available. 

One Hillsborough welcomes all residents to join in partnership and goodwill that begins with having good conversations. Our follow-up events will circle back to questions and concerns where possible, and the institutions were invited to provide feedback before our n​​ext community gathering.

PDFThe full Community Conversation MLK2023 Report


Photos MLK2023

Photo collection of the inaugural Community Conversation/MLK2023

Note: Journalist Rod Hirsch covered the event comprehensively online at TAPintoHillsborough.

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