Racial justice, LGBTQ advocates Monique Coleman and Austin Morreale Announce Run for Highland Park Borough Mayor, Council
Highland Park, NJ – Today, April 1, Monique Coleman and Austin Morreale announced their candidacy for Mayor and Borough Council Member of Highland Park. Running as the Highland Park Community Democrats, they are committed to transparent government, community inclusion, and equitable policies and practices.
If elected, Coleman would be the first Black mayor of Highland Park and Morreale would be the first transgender council member. The election is Tuesday, June 4.
“Just a little over one year ago, my teenage son was found to be suspicious by an undercover officer as he walked home, taking photos for a class project,” said Coleman. “I feel compelled to speak out and advocate for systemic change in Highland Park, and I would be honored to do so as the borough’s next mayor.”
Coleman has lived in Highland Park with her three teenage sons and husband since 2014. She serves on the Highland Park Board of Education, where she chairs the Equity and Excellence Committee. Coleman is the founder and president of VISTAS Education Partners, an instructional and consultation service company that supports vision impaired students in K-12 schools and partners with community groups to provide inclusive and specialized enrichment opportunities for diverse learners.
Coleman and Morreale are running together as the Highland Park Community Democrats. Morreale is the service director for NeighborCorps Re-Entry Services, a non-profit based in Highland Park that strives to reduce the rate of recidivism in New Jersey by working with individuals who are currently—or who have previously been—incarcerated in Middlesex County Adult Correction Center, helping them successfully transition back into the community.
“As a Borough Council member, I can be a voice for the low-income families of Highland Park and the people of Highland Park who work multiple jobs just to get by,” said Morreale, who has rented in Highland Park for almost a decade. “I can be a voice for the LGBTQ residents of Highland Park. I’m a trans man and a proud member of the queer community.”
Both Coleman and Morreale have a long history of public service. In addition to her educational advocacy, Coleman has been a grassroots organizer around a host of social issues affecting working class and low-income communities. Her work as a community organizer in Woodbridge drew national attention as she led beleaguered residents to seek redress for a climate change-fueled flooding crisis.
Morreale is the director of the Cave After School Center in Highland Park, a free after school program for middle schoolers run by the Highland Park-based nonprofit, Who Is My Neighbor, Inc. Morreale also volunteers at conferences for local LGBTQ youth, and he is active in What’s Your Story USA?, an organization that holds storytelling slams to raise money for area nonprofits. He’s an assistant Sunday school teacher at the Reformed Church of Highland Park.