Mobilization in Paterson: The Solution Going Forward
Wednesday, June 6, 2012 • 7:15am
Yesterday, citizens all over the new 9th district went out to vote and the results included a large scale, and truly inspiring, mobilization of citizens all over to vote for Congressman Bill Pascrell to represent the Democratic Party in the upcoming Congressional Election. I would like to offer my congratulations to Congressman Pascrell and I sincerely wish Congressman Rothman the very best in what the future holds for him; I truly wish you will continue to try and serve the people of NJ in some fashion, Congressman Rothman.
I would also like to now state directly to all the constituents and elected officials here in the 9th district that going forward, despite the bad blood that has been shed during this political race, we must all now reach across the aisle, put our differences aside, and work as one for the greater good. That can happen and it has to happen. And it starts with us organizing as a people today.
From this day forward, everyone can make the quality of life improve for all Patersonians and the entire new 9th district, and we can do so because we are going to mobilize effectively together.
Some of you may know me personally, some of you may just know of me, or most of you probably know nothing about me at all other than you probably at some point have seen me in passing around the city wearing a green polo shirt or a green hoodie accompanied by khaki pants. I’m a very bright, young, and highly motivated educator here in the city and I do whatever else I can to improve the quality of life for as many Patersonians as possible. Helping to create a better Paterson for all of you Patersonians is my daily motivation and I want you to know that so you can trust the sincerity in my words. My students, my former students, my students families, your families, everyone here in this city wishing for a better life, you are what drives me.
A current venture right now is helping to organize a fundraiser event for CeaseFire Paterson. My colleagues and I are working tirelessly to ensure that this event culminates in the accumulation of the necessary funds that will enable us to develop the most effective CeaseFire operation possible. If we do manage to somehow have our preparation pay off, I can guarantee you all that we will see less shootings, fewer deaths, and crime slowly begin to dissipate on our streets.
As a city, the work does not end with just eradicating the violence however. There still exists many problems and challenges going forward and the problems are not becoming any smaller. The recent City Council elections brought out a lot of candidates looking to lead their wards and their constituents but as Mr. Michael Symonds somberly wrote following the elections that only 18% of voter eligible Patersonians came out to cast their ballots.
Needless to say that was not enough civic participation. But clearly there are many of us out there who are trying every day to improve things in their own way. Monday night’s demonstrations in front of 401 Grand St. by Congressman Pascrell supporters shows that there are plenty of people out there that still care. It will be evident when Patersonians head down to Trenton to make their voices heard on tomorrow. More proof was seen when people advocated for School #28 to remain open, and when people protested the proposed adjoining of School #21 and School #6 valiantly in a losing fashion, at least the people were still there standing up for themselves. And if those instances were not enough, it was crystal clear we have a mobilized public when we saw Pascrell supporters rally and mobilize all the way to a decisive victory yesterday in a race that was expected to go down to the wire. The Point?
It is clear that there are many groups of people in this city that want to fight to improve conditions here. And that is exactly what is needed. And it must be in a comprehensively organized fashion just as the Pascrell campaign displayed.
As a city and one people of Patersonians, we must start to mobilize exactly as we have been doing, and we must continue to do so together more often and more effectively. And in order for that to work, we must get out there and convince our family, friends, and neighbors to do the same. No more talking. No more half-efforts and no more excuses.
The mobilization and action that will take this city to new heights will involve what are called Community Action Committees.
Some quick internet digging led to many different non-profit organizations with ‘Community Action Committee’ as part of their organizational name, description, or purpose. However, what was not found was any use of ‘Community Action Committee’ that is similar to this idea.
What is being put forth today are volunteer committees made up of citizens, any who wish to join, that are focused on solving each urgent issue facing us today. Together, we will organize in the most effective of fashions and work alongside those in power to make certain that we see walking rather than talking. I urge our elected leaders to join our CACs as well so we can sit down casually as equal citizens and friends working to solve our problems together, now and going forward. Per yesterday’s report here on this website, a new economic development director will soon be hired and that is the exact type of public official that I envision working with bright economic and entrepreneurial minds all over the city to devise a plan that will propel our economy to new heights.
A description of Paterson’s new Community Action Communities is as follows:
Ø The number of committees will expand as necessary to accommodate new matters that are bound to pop up.
Ø Each CAC will meet regularly according to what the individual CACs themselves determine to be the most effective schedule.
Ø CACs will work hand in hand with the elected leaders of our city. In these CACs, elected officials will participate as regular citizens and then use their offices to ensure our citizen voices and ideas are prioritized.
Ø CACs will put together action plans and then work alongside elected and city officials whose expertise corresponds to each issue; then all who are involved will work together to implement and execute said plans.
Ø CACs will coordinate as one full network of action groups by organizing and communicating regularly on progress of each CAC. This process will enhance the intellectual capacity of all CACs.
While it is clear we do have genuine leaders amongst our ranks, the reality is that the very nature of having political systems and bureaucratic institutions that are intended to make things easier, those procedures in place, *can* result in inefficiency despite everyone’s best efforts. That is why we must eliminate those inefficiencies without destroying the foundation of necessary procedures already present within political institutions and bureaucracies themselves.
Community Action Committees are going to be the venue to address that inefficiency by mobilizing experts all over the city to tackle the most pressing matters. We will bridge the gap between bureaucracy and action.
Let’s be honest, each of us has something positive to offer to this city, we know a lot about one thing or a lot about many things, be it through our careers or simply our knowledge. We are a pretty knowledgeable group of concerned citizens, are we not? But not a single one of us knows *everything*.
It is for that reason alone, that we should constantly be trying to get better by working together, learning from one another, and mobilizing everyone else to join with us so we can get things done right and mold the future success of Paterson and become a model for all urban centers in the United States of America.
The first opportunity for people to begin mobilizing starts with CeaseFire and eradicating the purposeless crime and loss of life that we unfortunately witness all too often in our tight-knit community.
The CeaseFire Core Group Committee will be meeting on Thursday June 14th for our final preparation meeting before our fundraiser event on the 23rd. We are asking any and all concerned citizens that wish to get involved to join us at 5PM next Thursday so you can learn what we are all about and if you so choose, you can assist us in our final push to make this fundraiser an outstanding success. As a group, we aim to implement the best and most comprehensive anti-violence program going forward that will address every single area that we must to tackle our violence issue.
It’s time to take control of all aspects of our city and that begins with saving innocent lives first and foremost. We can do that if we all mobilize together, strategically and effectively, to address each issue within the violence sphere. And then we will begin addressing non-violence issues at the same time. I have no doubts that all those concerned citizens out there can do this together.
Only two real questions remain…
If not us… Then who?
If not now…
Future CAC groups will likely include working to solve issues surrounding Education, Hinchliffe Stadium’s restoration, Economic Development, the new National Park, and any other issue that needs to be addressed. Announcements on future committees and their meetings will be forthcoming.
If you are interested in joining or starting up a Community Action Committee, or you have any other questions about the work that needs to be done in our city, please email me at email@example.com.