HARDWICK TWP. N.J. A family of Barack Obama supporters awoke Thursday to find a burned 6-foot cross on the front lawn of their home in northern Warren County N.J., police said. (Is the KKK going to make a comeback on the Barack Obama Presidency). The charred cross was partly wrapped with a homemade congratulatory banner that declared "President Obama Victory '08" and had been stolen from the lawn the night before, police said. "Living in the 21st century, and we have to deal with this -- in America," said Gary Grewal, 51, a native of India who lives with his wife and daughter, Arianna, on Millbrook Road in picturesque Hardwick Township, near the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. See my prior post, Friday, November 07, 2008, PA State Police investigate cross burning on lawn of Barack Obama supporters in Apolacon Township near Little Meadows PA home to KKK rallies in 80's.
Arianna, 8, spotted the banner wrapped around the burnt cross as the family walked toward their car to drive to school. "She saw it; that's what bothered me the most," Grewal said Thursday. "You can imagine the types of questions she was asking. It was very tough to explain." New Jersey State Police took the charred cross away in boxes to check for fingerprints or other evidence."We are treating it as a bias crime," said Lt. Gerald Lewis, a state police spokesman. See my prior post, Thursday, November 06, 2008, Mostly African American church in Springfield MA burned down 3 hours after Obama elected, $2.5 million in damage. Police said that between 1 and 7:30 a.m. someone set ablaze a cross composed of a metal fence post and a couple of two-by-fours. "Fortunately, in this particular case, the victims weren't harmed," Lewis said. Lewis said it was the first such incident state police had received information on in New Jersey. In Hardwick, the Obama/Joe Biden ticket garnered just 38 percent of the vote, but it was not substantially less than the 41 percent the ticket received in Warren County as a whole.
Grewal, a management consultant, has lived since 2001 in this largely rural Warren County community of about 1,500 people. He said Obama campaign signs were regularly swiped off his lawn. His wife, Alina, whose parents left Fidel Castro's Cuba to come to the United States, actively supported the Obama campaign in the largely Republican area. Instead of being intimidated, Gary and Alina Grewal have been emboldened."I don't want anyone to dictate to me and my family how to live," Alina Grewal said. Gary Grewal vowed to make an even larger Obama congratulatory banner."I'm not going to be intimidated by something like this," he said. "I don't go on anyone's property and do this. God forbid if I was African-American. "We're living in the 21st century, and we've got to be afraid to express our beliefs?"