Wednesday, August 15, 2012


TRENTON-- What happens when you are dying to tell you and your friend's stories, yet no one has taken the job so far? Well, Trenton residents and Arc Mercer clients Marlene Brockington and Tammi Weiger did only what seemed logical to them. They took action.

Marlene and Tammi both have cerebral palsy, a physical disability caused by brain damage, that has left them bound to wheelchairs for much of their lives.

Despite their physical limitation, for the last year, these two inspirational young ladies have been co-editing the Respite Reader, a newsletter the Arc Mercer publishes once a month as a part of their Aftercare Program.

The Arc Mercer is a local organization that specializes in helping individuals with developmental disabilities
realize their goals. Over the course of the last year, Brockington and Weiger have been realizing their dreams of being editors despite the odds. In their capacity as co-editors, they have been busy drafting questions for interviews, editing submissions, and shooting videos with their smartphones.

These two editors work closely with the Arc Mercer staff to brainstorm and come up with story ideas, but Recreation Manager John Morton said that members of the staff in no way change their words once they submit their work .

Anwar’s Reflections—a Trentonian affiliate— was invited to the Arc of Mercer in Trenton last week to take a peek at what these two young ladies were up to. During my visit, I was given the opportunity to interview them.

Upon arriving at the facility, I was greeted by both editors. During our nearly thirty minute interview, the ladies were all smiles.  They say they enjoy working together and that the best part of their job is doing the fashion stories.

Arc Staff Manager, Brandon King, said that, "Every day Tammi is ready to go, its just amazing to see the growth of these two young ladies".

The newsletter includes interviews, special features, and other articles.

For more information on the Arc Mercer and their Aftercare Program, contact John Morton at (609) 989-9211 or by email at

For access to the interview, please see below:

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Trentonians Hit The Movies At Local Library

TRENTON-- Last week, members of the Occupy the Hood Movement in association with Anwar's Reflections came together to host a Political Film Fest for the community. The event was held at the Trenton Public Library located near downtown.

Occupy the Hood NJ, an offshoot to the larger Occupy Wall Street movement spreading across the country, over the last couple of months has sought to raise awareness and ultimately cause change regarding issues affecting people living in urban settings like New Jersey's state capital. The group targets issues like unemployment, the prison industrial complex, and dwindling resources for social programs.
During the event, three films were shown, Sing Your Song, The Black Power Mixtape, and Inside Job.

All three of the films had some sort of political undertone in them. One film, The Black Power Mixtape, chronicled the Black Power Movement in the black community and Diaspora from 1967 to 1975. Another film, Inside Job, took a look at the role Wall Street played in the 2008 economic crisis that shook the US.

The films were shown as a way to raise awareness about pressing issues affecting the larger community.

Unfortunately, the turnout was not as expected. Throughout the day, the event had around 20 attendees. Looking at this stark reality raises questions like why didn't more people come out? Was it matter of poor promotion and marketing? Was it a matter of bad timing? Or perhaps there was or is a lack of interest in the community regarding these sort of issues? I, for one, don't know the answer to these questions, but I do know that in any event, the movement will continue.

Stay tuned for future events from Anwar's Reflections that are sure to inform, entertain, and encourage the masses.

A special thank you goes out to the Trenton Public Library for allowing us to hold this event and other events in the past in their Community Room. Another special thank you goes to the African American Chamber of Commerce and local grocery store Wegman's for providing food and refreshments for the event.