Tag Archive: NAACP

Clean and Green

BY DECIMINYAN Last night, a dozen civic and environmental organizations conducted a “Clean and Green” forum at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Trenton. Despite the inclement weather, a group of about 40 involved residents came to hear presenations on various…
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Welcome to Camden, President Obama. Here are some things I think you need to know.

UPDATE: Watch POTUS Live.

James Harris is the Immediate Past President of New Jersey NAACP (2005-2013). He opposed the abolition of the Camden Police Department as President of the NAACP New Jersey State Conference on grounds it was a racially motivated effort to destroy the Police Union and replace African American and Latino police officers with Whites. He also contended various practices were anti urban, anti- African American/Latino and anti-poor. Further, it was believed the Chief of Police had contributed to poor policing practices in Camden. Harris also chairs the Education Task Force of the New Jersey Black Issues Convention. – Promoted by Rosi

Barack ObamaWelcome to Camden, New Jersey Mr. President. I am happy to see you visit Camden New Jersey, one of the poorest and most dangerous cities in the United States of America.

Mr. President, I sincerely hope that you will talk to some residents other than the elected officials who are completely controlled by the political bosses who have created the conditions that allowed Camden to become and remain poor and dangerous for so long.

I hope you do not endorse the process that has led up to the propaganda of dramatic improvements in Camden public safety. You should not endorse the fact that Mayor Dana Redd fired more than 267 Camden police officers, who represented the most racially and ethnically diverse police department in New Jersey (over 75% African American and Latino). I hope you do not endorse the fact the “new” Camden Metro Police Department was created by the political bosses in Camden County to destroy the Police Union that was led by African Americans and who were operating under a Union contract that had been negotiated and signed while Camden was under state supervision.

Mr. President, I hope you will understand that the firing of this racially diverse police department was implemented with a agreement by the all-White New Jersey Civil Service Commission, which voted to eliminate the rules that allowed public employees to legally challenge unfair and unjust treatment.

I hope you will not encourage the continuation of policies and procedures that are racially discriminatory and violate all the most important values supported by the NAACP and other civil and human rights organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Another David vs. Goliath Battle

Suppose you are working a low-paying job and require 50 days off for cancer treatment. If you live in the United States, you’re in the only developed nation that does not require your employer to provide at least some paid sick leave.

Suppose you are a restaurant worker in Trenton and come down with the flu. If you take a few days off to recover, you won’t be paid, and if you’re not paid, you can’t feed your family. What choice do you have? Come into work and spread your germs, or let your kids go hungry.

Although 80% of Trenton’s workers already have some paid sick leave benefits, approximately 13,000 workers – mostly in low-paying jobs – are forced to make a decision on whether to work if they or their child is ill.

Last November, Trenton voters overwhelmingly approved an ordinance extending paid sick leave to nearly all workers.

In a classic David vs. Goliath confrontation, powerful business lobbyists are now trying to nullify the will of the voters.  A Superior Court judge is scheduled to hear arguments on April 16 as to whether this ordinance should go into effect or be postponed indefinitely.

Today, in Trenton, a coalition of groups held a rally and press conference to heighten awareness of this issue.

After “investment,” Camden neighborhoods struggle to get their share of resources

In Camden, 2014 was a year of change. The education system was fully under state control, the new metro police force was ramped up, and a bevy of tax breaks were handed out to corporations for moving to Camden. Through all this change, there is one critical question that is being asked more and more often by Camden’s residents and advocates. Who benefits from all these changes? If 2014 was a year of change, 2015 is the year Camden needs to fight to get its fair share of the resources designed to help the city.  

Welcome to Mount Laurel, Gov. Christie

We hardly ever publish anything that comes by email, word-for-word. But this, jointly sent by NAACP and Fair Share Housing, is dead-on. The Mount Laurel Doctrine was a victory for low-income people, people with special needs and seniors. And Gov. Christie calls it “stupid.” – REE

Fair Share Housing Center logoThis morning, Gov. Christie will hold a town hall meeting in Mount Laurel Township.  We welcome him to this place where a civil rights lawsuit led to the promise that lower-income families, people with special needs, and seniors on fixed incomes will not be excluded from wealthier suburban towns.  We hope he leaves with an understanding of why his housing policies are so bad for New Jersey families struggling with our state’s high housing prices.

NAACP logoIn May 1970, the mayor of Mount Laurel rejected a proposed housing development for working families who wanted to remain in the township.  Speaking at their church, he said, “If you people” – by which he meant African Americans who had lived there for hundreds of years – “can’t afford to live in our town, then you’ll just have to leave.”  His disregard of the housing needs of Mount Laurel residents was also felt by people living in the region who were denied the opportunity to move to starter homes and apartments that Mount Laurel’s zoning prohibited.  The courts and eventually the Legislature found this to be unfair after the Southern Burlington and Camden County Branches of the NAACP, along with others, sued the municipality.  

 

Outside the Courthouse in Trenton Today

As Bill laid out this morning, today is a key moment in the timeline of the investigation of the political ramifications of the sudden lane closures and 5-day traffic chaos last September. This morning, as the proceeding began, Judge Mary Jacobson called it what most New Jerseyans do by now: “the Bridgegate controversy”. Arguments are still going on inside the courtroom. This was the scene outside the courthouse:


Created with flickr slideshow.

Participants include the following: AFTNJ, NAACP,  Justice at Stake, NJEA, Health Professionals & Allied Employees, PFANJ, NJ Citizen Action, Working Families Alliance, Lambda Legal, Latino Action Network, Fair Share Housing, CWA, 1199 SEIU, 32 BJ, NJ United Students, and IFPTE.

The outcome of these proceedings may have tremendous impact on the ability of the people’s elected representatives – the investigative panel led by John Wisniewski and Loretta Weinberg – to find out who was ultimately responsible for what appears to be a massive misuse of government power and risk to public safety when the lanes were closed without warning or timehonored professional procedure, as well as possible cover-up, and motive. For the two Christie advisors whose lawyers are making their case inside (which just ended now after more than 3 hours) much is at stake, too. They both may know a great deal, and their own futures are at stake.

But there are larger questions at stake too, to protect the independence and integrity of NJ’s judiciary system, which is why all those people showed up outside the courthouse today. That’s my next post.

Photos: Rob Duffey, Hetty Rosenstein and Ann Vardeman.