Friday, September 21, 2018

Trenton: What's Going On???

TRENTON- Its been a while since my last post,  but boy oh boy have there have been some things going on in the Garden State's capital city lately. As the old saying goes, some things change, but at the same time, some things stay the same. 

For starters, just this summer, Art All Night 2018, a well-known arts and music festival, was abruptly put to an end one evening when suddenly a mass shootout broke out leaving one dead and many wounded. In the midst of this, a new mayor has also emerged coupled with a few new council members. Even in the middle of all this political change, we still see senseless violence in the city. 

Just a few Saturday's ago, Trentonian correspondent, Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman, reported that Eric Rue, 34, was shot and killed at Championship Bar in the city. This young man was less than a year younger than myself. Others were hurt and wounded while the city was celebrating its community back to school events

This state of affairs leaves many wondering "what's next?" or "why stay here?" or perhaps even the proverbial "Trenton can't have nothing!" declaration. In any event, something is amiss within the city and a change definitely needs to come as Sam Cooke famously sung. 

The new mayor, Reed Gusciora, has suggested that we need to increase the size of the police force, others have stated that we need better parenting, while others are saying we need more after-school activities or nonviolence education programs. Despite the merit of these ideas, I think a multi-pronged approach is needed. 

In my estimation, the way forward will consist of all the above mentioned ideas, plus more.

In order to adequately address the violence in our midsts, I think we will also need to protest and petition our local leaders and/or work with community activists on creative ways forward. Civic and community engagement is critically important. Moreover, I believe we will also need to establish more partnerships among civic and political groups as this can foster more ideas and creative thinking. Additionally, I am all for encouraging more volunteering with at-risk youth as the youth sometimes need someone to show them that someone really cares and is committed to helping them stay on the right path.

I think another area to focus on is ensuring that illegal weapons do not end up in the hands of the wrong people. One way of doing this is through a gun buyback program. For more information on gun buyback programs, click here.

I also think we need to somehow address barriers to jobs and education as idle hands are a devil's workshop. Lastly, I think its going to be imperative that we provide more educational opportunities for parents.

The main reason that I am highlighting the importance of a more collaborative rather than individual effort to curb the violence in our community is to underscore how critical teamwork is when working on any meaningful endeavor. Indeed, there is wisdom and truth in the saying that, "teamwork makes the dream work". In order to move the needle and make a difference within our community, we will all need to play a role in ameliorating this plaguing social problem.

So, I urge members of the community to band together, protest the status quo, and create a better Trenton free of violence and mayhem. It won't be easy, but with commitment and determination, I am confident that we can achieve real change together.

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