A New Jersey teen, Emily Gil, 18, was inspired to hold a rally in Englewood Cliffs. After watching thousands of Americans supporting the Black Lives, she as well thought to exercise her First Amendment right.
Emily then organized a peaceful rally in support of Black Lives Matter. Later, that teenager received a bill for $2500 in the mail from the mayor.
The mayor, Mario Kranjac, stated that he “rescinded the invoice”. “I always want to make certain that everyone’s Constitutional Rights are fully respected,” he wrote in a letter to protest organizer Emily Gil on Saturday.
The Mayor’s letter on the bill also mentioned “I have researched the issue further with my own counsel and I am hereby rescinding the bill, subject to our Council’s ratification of my action. I always want to make certain that everyone’s Constitutional Rights are fully respected. We will have to adjust the Borough’s ordinances accordingly.”
Emily Gil: Reason Behind the protest? What followed?
When Gil was asked what were her intentions behind the rally, she mentioned It’s an issue we care about. And we notice these issues in our own town, so we can do something about it.”
She also wanted to highlight the issue of lack of affordable housing. “Englewood Cliffs has dodged affordable housing requirements for 40-plus years,”-Gill expressed regarding the housing issue.
Gil, 18, told Sources that she had organized a small and peaceful rally on July 25 to protest the Borough’s lack of affordable housing.
It was causing Black residents to be priced out of Englewood Cliffs. “I find that unacceptable,” Gil claimed.
She also said that the protest was attended by 30 to 40 people and that there were no disturbances. Everyone cleaned up the trash after the protest was over. Four days after the protest, Gil was shocked to receive a letter from the mayor saying she must pay $2,499.26 for “police overtime caused by your protest.”
Reaction and Reaponse:
“I was shocked when I read that I had to pay to exercise my First Amendment right,” said Gil
The mayor said that he wants to combat the housing issue and he had no problem with the protest.
“And we made sure that we fulfilled and satisfied our obligation to make sure that they can exercise their freedom of speech and to peaceably assemble,” said Kranjac.
The Mayor also told that all private events which required police overtime had to be paid for by the organizers. It should not be intended as a fine, but a fee.
Though the Mayor rescinded the bill, there was clearly no apology. Emily Gil mentioned, “He didn’t apologize…. he also tried to excuse what he did, by saying it was the advice of the borough administrator that led him to give me a bill.”
He also stated that he was glad about Gil being able to express her rights to freedom of speech and assembly. He gave his best wishes for her future success and endeavors.
Mario also mentioned about his work plan to support the protest “I continue to work on resolving the Borough’s affordable housing obligations. Also theCouncil will adopt some form of the affordable housing plan as stated by the Mayor.