Keyport: A refreshing take on the ‘melting pot’

Keyport is not unlike other Bayshore towns when it comes to demographics: It is a very diverse community.

One walk along Front Street on any given day proves this.

What does make Keyport unique is that it has embraced its differences with the Cultural Harmony Program (CHP).

Formed in October 2006 by borough residents, the program was almost “requested” of the community in response to a proposed ordinance that would have deemed it “illegal” to rent to non-American citizens, according to founding member Al DeGracia.

The CHP proudly helped defeat the ordinance and has since embarked on a journey to help the borough of Keyport assimilate immigrants into American culture and norms.

“Members include so many different people from all walks of life,” DeGracia said.

The program aims to foster a community with a strong sense of cohesion and identity.

While the CHP offers English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at the Central Middle School, it also encourages members to recycle and teaches them what it means to be an American citizen.

Monthly meetings are held at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 10 East Front St.

Check out this week’s issue of The Courier, which will feature an “Our Town: Keyport” section, for more on the Cultural Harmony Project.

PHOTO: John Ambrose and Al DeGracia, both members of the KCP. Ambrose is currently running for a seat on the borough council; DeGracia is treasurer of the KCP. (Melissa L. Gaffney)

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Filed under Cultural Harmony Program, Keyport, The Courier

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