|Local Trenton residents take a peek at mural designs for the mural arts project.|
In this particular case, it has been found that the city has chosen to have a muralist that was not from the city of Trenton, but rather the city of Brotherly Love. The name of the muralist is Phillip Adams, he is Philadelphia-based.
I applaud what the Trenton Mural Arts Program (TMAP) is doing. I do believe the city of Trenton needs the arts like people with the common cold need those nifty zinc lozenges, i.e. desperately. However, putting rhetoric aside for a moment, what I do take issue with is the fact that Trenton's own muralist Will 'Kasso' Condry was not chosen to take part in this project. Indeed, Kondry has a long history of creating murals in the city that have truly beautified Trenton. Yet he, a Trentonian, seems to have been completely overlooked for this sort of position. This state of affairs begs or evokes a larger question: how many development jobs are taken by outsiders instead of born and bred Trentonians?
I understand that we live in a globalized world where everyone is interconnected and where talent seems to be found any where it is located, yet we must never forget the unemployment rate in cities like Trenton is 13.8% alone compared to the national average being 6.9%. My goodness, believe you me, those numbers are staggering. Something truly needs to be done by our locally elected officials to reduce this unacceptable statistic. Let's be quite frank, if we can't give people jobs due to their lack of skills, it seems to me that the only logical or sensible thing to do from a policy standpoint, is to provide programs and services to these young men and women that will promote knowledge and skill development.
Shouldn't Trentonians have access to these jobs if they live here. Our elected officials need to remember what psychology 101 teaches us: if people perceive in their hearts and minds that they are heavily invested in their community, they undoubtedly take greater pride in that same neighborhood they live in. This pride in the community can be demonstrated in a variety of ways. First, with cleaner streets. Second, with citizens being more vocal about problem schools, crime, and the like.
I think greater pride in social affairs can and will promote a more dignified standard of living where people have no problem recommending Trenton as a place to live, work, or go to school. (However, please don't get me wrong, I am not downplaying the many positive forces in Trenton, because trust me, there are many positive folks in Trenton, all one needs to do is take a look at some of the people that have been interviewed on this blog to verify that fact, the only thing I'm pointing out is that there are individuals out there that give the city a bad rep).
So as I sit back and talk to myself, I say let's take greater pride in this great city we call Trenton-- New Jersy's state capitol. The choice is ours. Only time will tell what we will do. But in the meantime, I invite all of us (including myself) to chime in on this topic and get engaged in some form of social activism...