The stakes are high in Trenton

Allow me the chance to reintroduce myself. Over the past couple of months the Trenton Journal gained a great number of new subscribers to our weekly newsletter and I’m extremely grateful for each and every one of you who has signed up to our newsletter, liked our Facebook page, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, enabling our community to grow and to become well-informed about services that can enrich lives. Thank you for supporting local journalism.

Over the past year we published stories that celebrated the “14 Trenton area artists you should know,” the legacy of poet and educator, Doc Long, in “Gone but never forgotten how Doc Long’s legacy still lives on by those he inspired,” and “Capital Connection,” a weekly roundup of art, politics, and current events you don't want to miss happening in and around the Capital City. Since we’re in an election year, I created a series called “Meet the Candidates,” where all candidates running for Mayor and Trenton City Council have an open invitation to tell their Trenton story to give residents an opportunity to get a chance to know more about them and their platforms before they cast their ballot in November. One of the ways I believe will help to move Trenton towards success is having elected leaders who are willing to put their differences aside for the good of the people. In order to attract new residents and businesses to Trenton, we need our leaders working together.

9-year-old SeQuoya Bacon-Jones was struck and killed by a stray bullet in Trenton, photo source, Facebook.

Recently, 9-year-old SeQuyoa Bacon-Jones, was shot and killed by a stray bullet playing in the common area of her Trenton apartment building. “This is something this city can’t stand for,” Mayor Reed Gusciora said in response to the senseless crime. He’s right, we can’t afford for another life to be lost to the streets. So what do we do? We organize, we vote, we hold everyone accountable for keeping our neighborhoods safe, because we’re all that we have. Healing Trenton must take place on the inside. We detailed some of the factors that has led to some of the blight, crime, and residents leaving the city in our article, "The becoming of today's Trenton: A historical analysis of social and economic changes," and will continue to offer solutions in our editorial coverage and social media platforms by providing information for services that people may need.

I was recently asked by someone who left a comment, “Who the hell still lives in Trenton? The place looks like a goddamn war zone!” under a Trenton Journal Facebook advertisement. The fact is there are many people who feel this way and they are entitled to their opinion, but there is a danger in that thinking that helps to keep communities socially and economically depressed. First, not everyone wants to move out of Trenton. There are many people who have raised generations of families in the Capital City and couldn’t imagine calling another place home. Secondly, asking who the hell still lives in Trenton evokes a classist tone, assuming everyone could afford to move to another town if they wanted and othering those who stay whether by choice or circumstance. I suggest reframing, “Who the hell still lives in Trenton?” by asking what can we do to make Trenton a better place for those that call it home, because in the famous words of writer James Baldwin in his 1962 essay, "As Much Truth As One Can Bear," “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

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