A new Ocean County effort aims to counter a perceived rise in hate speech and bias incidents in the county.

County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer says that during his time in office in Ocean, "I've noticed that there's a push and pull in the struggle, and there's a lot of divisions based on race ethnicity religion and just different political views."

Through "Love Thy Neighbor: There is No Room for Hate in Ocean County," the prosecutor's office is asking religious leaders to spread the anti-hate message for a campaign that runs through June 2. He's hoping community members come to understand that we're not all the same, but our differences don't make us enemies."

"I reached out to approximately 82 different faith leaders here in Ocean County," Billhimer said. "That was the best way I could think to try to get the message out. And we basically asked them to include in their services  —in their mosque, in their temples, in their churches — mssages of kindness, tolerance.

Authorities also have signs up across Ocean County that they hope will get noticed. Billhimer hopes to extend the anti-hate sentiment beyond this kickoff.

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