My Trenton Story

A Trenton teen’s thoughts on how to restore their city

My name is Jah Kelly, I am a 19-year-old Trenton native, and a sophomore at Rider University majoring in Graphic Design. As a lifetime resident of Trenton, I have seen many ups and downs that have had an influence on my life.

The ups are; the festivals, musical events, and community gardens. I also enjoy historical places, such as the William Trent House, Old Barracks Museum, Trenton Battle Monument, and the World War II Memorial. The wide variety of family-friendly activities, such as taking in a Trenton Thunder game at Arm & Hammer Park, enjoying a fun-filled day at Sesame Place and Six Flags Great Adventure, or visiting the Shady Brook Farm, Rockville Climbing Center, New Jersey State Museum, or the planetarium. The unique and creative art spread throughout the city is also another one of my favorite visuals. The downs are the thoughtless killings, gang violence, drug dealing and addicts, all of which contribute to the high crime rates.

I learned at an early age that I was living and surrounded by endless violence and unsafe conditions. As a result of this my experience being raised in Trenton was completely different from other children and friends I know who live outside of the city.

Though I love the city I grew up in, during these past few years I’ve started realizing that there hasn’t been much change. The violence occurs nearly on a daily basis. As a member of the Trenton community, I fear that it’s going to be a point where the crime rates are going to skyrocket, and nowhere will be safe.

I suggest that residents should form a large group of trusted individuals who willingly want to fight and secure our community's safety. Utilizing today’s media could help spread our message as a community to make our concerns more visible to the world. Taking this approach could gain the attention of the mayor and other officials within Trenton to take more responsibility to help rebuild our communities.

Trenton residents also need to speak up more about the absurd amount of abandoned houses, terrible streets and roads, and reported cases of missing children/teens.

This community group, along with help from other collaborators, can help rebuild those abandoned houses and provide adequate housing for struggling families living in unsafe conditions. More importantly, voicing our concerns about keeping Trenton's children safe by enforcing a curfew and other proactive measures.

These troubling issues mentally affect me and the way I see my future. I see myself leaving Trenton to pursue my dream career as a successful graphic designer and entrepreneur. Every time I walk outside my house I have a sense of fear for my life. I’m worried if I’m going to make it safely back home, or be killed due to nonsense.

Although I’m proud to say that I was born and raised in Trenton, I don’t want to be stuck here wasting my life. My mother sacrificed to give me the best education that her money could buy. I do not know when I'm going to leave, but I know I'll return to Trenton one day to see how the community improved and also help restore the city to its former glory.

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