Sunday, July 22, 2012

Trentonians Chime In After Feds Raid City Hall

TRENTON-- In the wake of last week's FBI raids, the city of Trenton burst onto the national scene. News reports, tweets, and blogs galore, indeed Trenton was the talk of the town last week.

FBI agents descended onto New Jersey's state capitol in the middle of the night last Wednesday, they stopped off at the mayor's Berkely Square home in Trenton.

The city's mayor, Tony F. Mack, has been the subject of scandal and criticism since taking office just two years ago. Since being inaugurated, he and his administration have been slapped with accusations of cronyism and reckless spending. However, at this juncture, despite these accusations, the FBI has not charged the mayor with any crime or offense. Reports indicate that an investigation is ongoing.

After stopping off at the Mayor's humble abode, the FBI also searched the homes of Mack's brother Raphael Mack along with one of the mayor's campaign contributors JoJo Giorgianni, a convicted sex offender.

Over the last two years, the mayor was a target of a failed recall effort. The citizens group that led the recall effort was concerned about "unstable leadership and the laying off of 105 police officers "according to Trentonian columnist LA Parker. Along with the recall, a lawsuit was filed against the mayor by a former parks employee. The employee said that the mayor asked her to give his friends jobs and she refused.

It is unknown whether the FBI investigation has anything to do with these previous issues and if they are connected to the mayor and his administration.

To his credit, Mack has done some things to improve the city of Trenton since taking office. From renovating the Ike Williams Recreation Center to securing grant funds for public safety that is expected to help bring back 12 officers that were laid off due to budget constraints, the mayor has done things enhance the community. For more info, click here.

Anwar's Reflections-- a Trentonian affiliate-- wanted to get reaction from Trenton residents.

One resident said its tragic that we have a mayor that is being investigated by the FBI. He went on to say that despite being innocent until proven guilty, if the FBI is involved, they must have something on him.

Another resident, Ms. Tuthcil, said that she personally knows the mayor and that she doesn't know too much about what's going on, but that she supports the mayor and is praying for him.

Shawn, a city man, said that his initial reaction after hearing that the mayor's house was raided was that it was 'embarassing'.

Lastly, Richard Cook, a longtime Trenton resident and cousin of former Mayor Doug Palmer, said that he doesn't know what to think but that he never saw a mayor's house get raided by the FBI in his lifetime.

Please see video interviews below:

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Local Group Hosts Trenton Film Fest at Library

TRENTON- Local group hosts Trenton Film Festival at the Trenton Public Library. Occupy the Hood NJ in association with Anwar’s Reflections is holding a film fest for the community to come together, have fun, and discuss important political issues affecting individuals living in urban communities like Trenton.

During the event, films The InterruptersSing Your Song, The Black Power Mixtape, and Inside Job,  will be shown.

According to the film's website, The Interrupters tells "a moving and surprising story of "three violence interrupters" in Chicago" who seek to protect their communities from the violence they once employed. Sing Your Song tells the story of actor and activist Harry Belafonte and his struggles during the Civil Rights Movement. For more on the film, click here. The Black Power Mixtape chronicles and examines "the Black Power Movement in the black community and Diaspora from 1967 to 1975". For more information on this film click here. Inside Job highlights the role of Wall Street in the 2008 economic crisis that shook the US. For more on this film, click here.

Event participants are invited to take part in a light discussion after the films.

Refreshments will be served during the film festival.

The event is free and being sponsored by the African American Chamber of Commerce. The event is scheduled to go from 10 am to 4 pm Saturday July 28th at the Trenton Public Library located at 120 Academy Street, Downtown Trenton.

For more information, contact members of Occupy the Hood NJ at

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Anwar's Reflections Hosts Presidential Election Panel Discussion

TRENTON-- What happens when an historian, a political economist, an Iraq veteran, a student, and a community activist come together to discuss some of today's pressing issues? That is the question.

Anwar's Reflections-- a Trentonian affiliate-- and Occupy the Hood NJ came together Saturday morning to discuss the 2012 Presidential Election at the Trenton Public Library.

During our nearly four hour discussion, a variety of issues and topics were explored. From immigration and jobs to gay marriage and race, all of these issues were brought to the table Saturday.

Indeed, it was a heated yet enlightening exchange of ideas. The event was sparked by members of the Occupy the Hood NJ movement and blogger Anwar Salandy.

According to the local blogger, now it is more important than ever to raise awareness about this upcoming election, the stakes are high, this election can drastically alter the course and direction of this country. Therefore, we can sit on the sidelines. We need to get involved and vote.

At one point during the discussion, Rance Robeson, an Iraq military veteran, said that President Obama is doing an outstanding job despite his 47% approval rating according to Real Clear Politics. He went on to point out Obama's achievements and say the economy was not the only issue or factor that was going to be critical in one's voting decisions.

Economist and CEO of online marketing company, Intersearch Media, Dr. Celestine Chukumba had a contrary view. He focused on economic issues like jobs. He said that this election will essentially boil down to jobs, jobs, jobs. Chukumba went to highlight what some have called President's Obama's weaknesses, he spoke about Obama's unwillingness to work with the other side of the aisle (i.e. members of the Republican Party). Chukumba said that "at the end of the day, you have to work with both sides". He went on to mention that there has been an attack on the rich coming from members of the Obama camp and that this strategy is no way to work with both sides as a chief executive.

Others on the panel said that President Obama was at a disadvantage coming into office since he lacked executive experience being that he was a senator and community organizer before being elected to the highest office in the land.

Later, Chukumba went on to acknowledge that there is historical significance to Mr. Obama's presidency, but he went on to caution the audience that there should be principled criticism of his presidency if the nation ever hopes to have another president of color in office in the future. Others on the panel echoed this sentiment.

Community activist Daryl Brooks said that "its not only important to look at the world economy" but also to understand how social issues like Mitt Romney's Mormonism may have an impact on this year's election.

Trenton resident Edward Smith said that despite President Obama throwing a bone to young voters by reducing interest rates on student loans this past week, this doesn't change the fact that young people cannot find jobs after finishing college. 

Educator Dr. Jack Washington quoted political analyst James Carville by saying that this year's election hinges on the economy by saying its "the economy stupid". Indeed, it seems as though the economy will figure prominent as the nation wrestles with an 8.2% unemployment rate, stagnant wages, and high gas prices. 

Graduate student and Willingboro resident, Sam Bardell, recorded the event while photographer Delonte Harrod took photos of the discussion. 

To get more information on this year's candidates and the election overall, click here.

For more on what the panelists said, please see videos below:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Local Group Kickstarts Summer Program For Area Youth

HAMILTON-- The summer is here, the sun is shining, air conditioners are burning energy, and last but not least, school is out. Instead of having area kids roam the streets with idle hands, two local community organizations have decided to come together and launch a summer enrichment camp at Hamilton Township's Bromley Center.

The Bromley Civic Association in conjunction with the S.E.A.L Academy have decided to create a program that will give youngsters something both fun to do and something positive to do while enjoying their summer break from school.

The program is scheduled to start July 9th. The program lasts 7 weeks and is designed for children in grades first to seven. The groups behind the program state that it aims to help extend and expand children's reading, writing, math, science, leadership, and learning experiences. In a press release, they go on to say that there will be a variety of cool and fun activities for the youngsters to engage in while in the program. There will be outdoor activities, creative cosmetics, and other activities according to one of the group's spokespersons.

The program includes art, botany, and chemistry fun. Children are offered free breakfast and lunch. The program costs $120 per week to attend before any discounts and deductions.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about this program, contact Dee at (609) 557-7325, or you can email her at