Stories:

Criminal Justice Reform, Booker, & Camden

A few weeks ago, as reported by the Courier Post, Sen. Cory Booker, Camden County Metro Police Chief J. Scott Thomson, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, and Pastor William Heard of Kaighn Ave. Baptist Church sat on a stage discussing criminal justice reform. For the most part, they seemed informed and aware of the mess the all levels of government created in response to an illegal drug market and drug war that started in the 1980s. The openly unresolved issue of urban America, certainly Camden, is economics and jobs.  It doesn’t make much of a difference to talk about prison rates,
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Black Lives Matter AC on the Fallacy of Black on Black Violence

    “The same hands that drew red lines around Prince Jones drew red lines around the ghetto.” – Ta-Nehisi Coates in Between the World and Me           On July 16th, 2016 the Black Lives Matter Atlantic City group hosted our monthly forum, this one focused on the issue of black on black (BOB) violence. The image of violence in our communities has been defined and reproduced in very deceptive, obscure and leading ways that perpetuate stereotypes of “inherent” violent characteristics of the black community. The group focused on the national Black Lives Matter stance on
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No Contract No Peace: One month into the Trump Taj Mahal strike

One month ago today, 1,000 UNITE HERE! Local 54 casino workers at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City took to the picket line to fight for health care, pensions, paid breaks and other benefits. The last time workers walked off the job for this long was 2004, when 10,000 workers went on strike at the height of the industry’s profitability. Current owner of the Taj, billionaire Carl Icahn stripped workers of these benefits 21 months ago through bankruptcy proceedings, amidst casino closures that left 5,000 workers without jobs. Those who remain have had to forego medical treatments for chronic
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Black Lives Matter AC on Dismantling White Privilege

In late June, residents gathered with Black Lives Matter AC to gain greater insight on the various factors contributing to White Privilege and the underlying influences aiding its survival.  Several questions were considered, including the definition of privilege, why it exists, who it impacts, and how it can be dismantled. Michael Cluff, who has a background in Cognitive Psychology, tapped into the “science of privilege” with hopes of revealing elements that may help to dismantle its existence.  He discussed how we essentially have two brains—one automatic, one reflective—that process our social environments. He showed how our automatic brain makes shortcuts, which lead to
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Pyne Poynt Baseball Movie

The Trailer PYNE POYNT – Official Trailer from Dan Fipphen on Vimeo. CAMDEN  — For those looking for real stories of hope and transformation in this time of national struggle – led by everyday people – let me recommend Pyne Poynt Baseball, which documents young people in my hometown focused on their own and their community’s transformation, through America’s pastime – baseball. Okay, I admit it. I was bored of hearing about Bryan Morton and his youth baseball team, which plays and practices next to Heroin Highway, a known for the drug trade here in Camden. There were so many
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We Sink Or Swim Together

“I want our city to unite. We sink or swim together. This is about us.” – Betty Lewis of the NAACP on the state takeover of Atlantic City Atlantic City is under threat – but this historic American community has faced threats before.  This spring, facing a massive bankruptcy, Governor Chris Christie and State Senator Steve Sweeney pushed to move Atlantic City’s finances to state-level control through a state takeover. If passed, the proposed takeover, meant to protect the City from declaring bankruptcy, would have dismantled collective bargaining for city employees, nullified the power of elected officials (and hence the
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