Community Development Issues Featured in Second Week of Joint Effort Safe Streets Events
By Donald Gilpin
Joint Effort Safe Streets 2020, dedicated to the memory of Romus Broadway, continues into its second week with a virtual forum on Wednesday, August 5 at 6:15 p.m. on “The Future of Princeton and Community Development Hot Topics.”
Featured presenters will include Princeton Police Chief Nick Sutter on police-community relations; Chris Foglio Palmer on affordable housing in New Jersey and Princeton; Bob Hillier (a Town Topics shareholder) on the Witherspoon Street corridor; Josh Zinder on Maclean Street, Griggs Corner, and John Street projects; Leighton Newlin on Franklin Avenue and Maple Terrace; and Michelle Pirone Lambros on redevelopment in the shopping center area.
Mayor Liz Lempert, Mercer County Freeholder Andrew Koontz, Princeton Mayoral Candidate Mark Freda, Princeton Council President David Cohen, Councilman Dwaine Williamson, architect and Princeton Future President Kevin Wilkes, Princeton Civil Rights Commission (CRC) member and community nonprofit leader Fern Spruill, Princeton YMCA CEO Kate Bech, Arts Council of Princeton Interim Director Jim Levine, Princeton CRC Chair Thomas Parker, and Princeton Public Schools Board of Education (BOE) candidates Jean Durbin and Hendricks Davis will participate as panelists.
“I’m excited about this event because we’re talking about the future of this town,” said Joint Effort Program Coordinator John Bailey. “What will the town look like 20, 30, 40 years from now? I thought it would be important to have a clarifying and therapeutic conversation about affordable housing with people who are considered experts in the field to try to get us all on the same page. All of these issues are about history, the hindsight, what it used to be; the insight, what is the current dynamic; and foresight, what will the town look like going forward?”
The Joint Effort program will continue on Saturday, August 8 and Sunday, August 9 with two “Black Lives and Black Minds Matter” Zoom events. At Saturday’s 10 a.m. forum, co-sponsored by the Capital City Area Black Caucus (CCABC) and recognizing Mercer County Freeholder Sam Frisby, an array of local elected officials and candidates will speak on “Why the 2020 Election is So Important.”
Speakers will include Bailey, CCABC founding member and lobbyist Jeanine LaRue; African American Chamber of New Jersey CEO and CCABC founding member John Harmon; Frisby; Union County Freeholder Angela Garretson; Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman; Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker; Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds Jackson; Mercer County Freeholders Koontz, John Cimino, Lucy Walter, and Nina Melker; Lempert; East Windsor Mayor Janice Mironov; Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora; Ewing Councilman David Schroth; Williamson; and Parker.
Princeton participants will also include Cohen, Councilwoman Leticia Fraga, and BOE candidates Kim Lemon, Paul Johnson, Adam Bierman, and Davis.
Sunday’s Joint Effort event at 4 p.m., described by Bailey as “one of the most important Black community cultural events ever put on in this town,” will feature a Cynthia “Chip” Fisher and Romus Broadway Memorial Virtual Art Exhibit-Collage Slideshow, a salute to Romus Broadway, and a community reception. It will be followed at 6 p.m. by the Jim Floyd Memorial Lecture titled “Beyond Words: Taking Action,” delivered by Taylor A. Marrow III, a Princeton native now a history instructor at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon.
Joint Effort Safe Streets 2020 will close on Sunday evening with award presentations and a gospel music hour, “The Sam Frisby Musical Experience,” at 6:30 p.m. The Liverman Book Scholarship will go to Skylar J. Hall, and additional book scholarships will be presented by the Hill family to Hailey Young and the Mercer County Freeholders to Jaylen Johnson.
Levine will receive the Joint Effort Safe Streets Chairman’s Recognition. Romus Broadway (posthumously) will receive the Jim Floyd Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Mildred Trotman Community Service Awards and Challenge will go to the entire Princeton community. “This is a community challenge award to recognize and challenge as well as encourage all Princeton citizens to do more and be more in the name of race relations in our town,” said Bailey.
Joint Effort’s July 29 opening session on “Racism In Princeton, PHS Student Video, John Witherspoon Middle School (JWMS) Name Change and More” attracted a diverse group of about 140 participants. The discussion ranged widely, with many different speakers giving their perspectives on the subject. The Princeton BOE is holding additional discussions on the possible renaming of JWMS, with the next session on August 10 at 7 p.m. via Zoom.
Bailey noted that the topic of racism would undoubtedly arise again in this week’s Joint Effort discussions. “There are some really good people in Princeton,” he said, echoing a comment that he said he had heard from former Councilman Lance Liverman. “Every town has ‘the good, the bad, and the ugly’ so part of the deal is to try and get folks who are in the bad and the ugly to move towards the good.”
Bailey continued, “The community needs a challenge. It needs to challenge itself in our homes, in our organizations, in our churches, in our institutions. Throughout the community we need to challenge ourselves to do more and to be more. And there are many good people who are role models.”
Bailey praised the numerous residents who have supported Joint Effort. “Even in the midst of the pandemic — the health crisis, the financial crisis, and the racial crisis — the good folks of Princeton who have continually supported the community have stepped up again and supported this program and their community,” he said.
For more information and the Zoom links, contact John Bailey at (720) 629-0964 or firstname.lastname@example.org.