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The Mayor’s Promise

Editors Note: We accidentally cut off the camera about 90 seconds before the mayor completed here remarks. In what could be her final annual update, on Wednesday, February 15th, Mayor Dana L. Redd gave remarks as an update on what she describes as “Camden’s resurgence”. She stuck to common phrases and themes related to “moving Camden forward”. “What is a promise?”, the mayor asked. In her view, promises that have been made by the political establishment have been kept. She listed her original goals as restoring accountability to city hall, education reform, and making communities safer. She describes her progress
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What’s Next for Black Lives Matter Atlantic City?

2016 has been a transformative year for the Atlantic City Chapter of Black Lives Matter – NJ! Our monthly teach-in forums in Atlantic City empowered us, brought mutual understanding, and strengthened our bonds, allowing us to set and pursue meaningful priorities. BLM-NJ: Atlantic City brings people together in a powerful way, providing the infrastructure necessary to make shared values and concerns an agenda for social change for the entire region. It is fitting that this year, our group became an official chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement through the New Jersey chapter. Though we have diverse backgrounds and perspectives,
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Camden’s Yungest Legend

Over the weekend, 17 year old Camden, NJ native Yung Poppa released his latest single “I Got the Keys Freestyle”. The song is a banging anthem for the living and lost, youth and entrepreneurs. In the song, he touches on politics, community, and fashion. Listen here. The song prominently displays the key and city silhouette logo of grassroots community organization CANDO. Camden African Neighborhood Development Organization, founded by Anthony “Mancakes” Ways is central to the song. CANDO sponsors athletic games throughout the year to build community, reduce violence, and provide a space for leaders to plan the next steps.  In a city
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Black Lives Matter AC on Health and Well-Being in Atlantic County

By Brielle Lord and Dr. Christina Jackson Malcolm X always said that the most disrespected person in America is the black woman. Though he references respect, the devaluing of their lives can be seen through the quality of their lives in the Atlantic County region where both gender and race create dire experiences for families headed by black women. On Saturday, October 15th, the Black Lives Matter Atlantic City chapter held its second to last forum in their 12-month series entitled “Beyond the Slogan: Conversations on Race, Privilege and Power.” The focus of our October forum was health and well-being
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Voters’ Voices: Camden & the Presidential Election

  In October, I went to different neighborhoods in Camden to talk to residents and visitors about the presidential election. I found Trump, Clinton, and Stein supporters as well as people that were still undecided. Every time I went out, I was joined by different people that helped do video and get people to be interviewed.  Davelle did most of the editing, with Helyx, Milena, and I contributing as well. I targeted young adults and tried to get a diverse group of people to talk in front of the camera. I did find a Black man that was voting for
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Black Lives Matter AC on Affirming Black LGBTQ Lives

By Brielle Lord and Dr. Christina Jackson “It’s never a safe space entirely, in a black community,” Sa’Miyah, a student at Stockton University, offers in a panel discussion on Affirming Black LGBTQ lives. This September, the Black Lives Matter AC group reconvened to discuss the minority within the minority—and the experience of sexuality defining how safe one feels within a movement for black lives. As a community, the group addressed what is often looked at as a taboo topic, with what one panelist defined as operating as a “don’t ask, don’t tell policy” in the black community. Dr. Christina Jackson,
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Black Lives Matter AC on Controlling Images and the Media

On Saturday, August 20th, the Black Lives Matter Atlantic City chapter had their 10th monthly forum. The forum’s theme was Perceptions of African Americans in the Media, with guests Dr. Donnetrice Allison, Associate Professor of Communications at Stockton University and Glynnis Reed, Atlantic City based visual artist. We discussed how mainstream media views African Americans through one lens—a constrained lens that is shaped by what sells. What sells are images of African Americans that perpetuate stereotypes, and our history has proven this: black men as the “happy slave” to the “coon” to the “brutal black buck.” For black women, images
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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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Black Lives Matter AC on the Role of Art in Social Change

“Art by nature is revolutionary.” This powerful statement was introduced by Atlantic County visual artist, Kelley Prevard. Her words encapsulate the mood felt throughout the May meeting of Black Lives Matter AC, highlighting the ways in which art can bring about social change historically and today. On Saturday, May 21st, Atlantic County community members gathered at Asbury United Methodist Church for their seventh monthly Black Lives Matter A.C. forum. Titled The Arts: Inspiring Social Change, this public event was part of a twelve-month series aiming to connect the sudden death of young unarmed black men to the slow violence of
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Camden Voters Discuss the Primaries

In the last few weeks, Media Organizer Sean M Brown talked to voters in Camden about jobs, new development projects, and voting. Watch the quick video to hear what a few people are saying.  On Tuesday, June 7th voters will go to the polls to cast votes for the primary. Please share and comment. After the election polls close at 8pm, click here for results.  Unsure of where to vote? Click here. Continue to check NJ Platform for stories about what residents in Atlantic City and Camden are saying about the biggest issues in Camden.
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Camden should give all residents ID cards

On May 10th Camden Councilman Angel Fuentes introduced an ordinance to City Council to create a City Resident Identification Program. This program aims to help city residents that are not able to obtain a government ID. The most vulnerable people in our community would benefit from this program, such as the elderly, formerly incarcerated individuals, undocumented immigrants, the disabled and the homeless. Undocumented immigrants would be able to show an ID that is not in a foreign language and that the police can understand. They would be able to report crimes without the fear of being detained, reported to immigration
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Meet Camden’s Next Generation of Underground Artists

  The arts are alive in Camden. There is a new generation of artists that range from poets and rappers to painters and taggers. They want to have fun in peaceful environments. They are diverse in every way. They have friends from all over the area. They are aware of the negative image of Camden and prove that you cannot paint the city with a broad brush. In April, I got to hang out with Kingsley Ibeneche, a Creative Arts High School and University of the Arts graduate.  A son of Nigerian born parents, Kignsley and his friends decided to
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Camden Love Hate: A movie review

Submitted by: Sean M. Brown A few days ago, I joined about 100 attendees for the first private showing of Camden Love Hate, a documentary that students from Camden Center for Youth Development, a Camden alternative school, filmed with handheld cameras. The project was initiated and directed by Daniel Meirom, professional film maker, in collaboration with CCYD. The project started in 2008. In the opening scene of the movie, a news broadcaster describes one of the most horrific crimes in Camden’s history: the murder of two teens that sat in a car, attacked by a man with a machete and gun. I
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A City Like a Phoenix: Belinda Manning on the Lifeblood of Atlantic City

“For years, this city has been like the phoenix… we have not learned from its past resurrections the importance of including residents, and those people who struggle on a day to day basis to keep this city alive, and provide the lifeblood of this city.” – Belinda Manning Belinda Manning is a poet, artist, community activist, volunteer, and long-time resident of Atlantic County. A few weeks ago, we met in the Civil Rights Garden in Atlantic City to talk about the importance of this place to her. We talked about the power and promise of this Garden, as well as the challenges
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Listening from Below and the State Takeover of Atlantic City

There’s a takeover going on in Atlantic City, and it’s national news.  Trenton is near to approving a bill that would give the state near total authority to run AC for the next five years. If the bill is approved, the state is expected to slash budgets, sell assets, and cancel labor contracts in order to balance the city’s budget. Atlantic City’s balance sheet is due to run out of money on April 8. For the past year, Kevin Lagin, the same emergency manager that took Detroit through its bankruptcy process, has been under contract to assess how to deal
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The biggest day of the year for Camden development

Here’s five things you should know about the Cooper’s Ferry Annual Meeting Every spring, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership holds its Annual Meeting, a $125-a-ticket event where developers, construction companies, city officials, politicians, as well as architects, lawyers, and a few community leaders mingle in front of the shark tanks at the Camden Aquarium. Cooper’s Ferry is a non-profit development company that works in very close partnership with Camden city government to attract business investment to the city as well as effect change in education and public safety. As someone who has been to these events before, I know that important conversations
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Video: The aftermath of casino closures in AC

Building a Sandcastle: A Broken Promise to Atlantic City tells the stories of the casino workers who remain after the wave of casino closures and layoffs in 2014. Now employed by an industry looking to secure its bottom line by cutting pensions, healthcare and work hours, casino employees are getting organized and fighting back. In the process they are working with neighbors across Atlantic City to reimagine the future of this resort town on the Jersey coast. Look for more stories from NJ as MMP works with communities throughout the state to build independent media and create new ties to
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