March 3, 2021

Princeton Community Housing Thanks Virtual Event Speakers, Supporters

To the Editor:

At the Princeton Community Housing (PCH) virtual event on Wednesday, February 24, Dr. Eddie Glaude Jr., author of Begin Again: James Baldwin’s Urgent America and its Urgent Lessons for Our Own, proposed a new kind of social contract for Princeton.

This social contract was discussed by Dr. Glaude and the Rev. Lukata Mjumbe, pastor of the Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church and trustee of PCH. Dr. Glaude spoke about the need to shift the frame and recognize that social and moral justice is not a philanthropic or charitable enterprise. Racial equality is not something that we give ­—­­­­ we need to talk to one another and address this together. He encouraged the Princeton community to assert a different kind of moral and social contract between its citizens. Dr. Glaude expressed this contract as a broad, public infrastructure of care that is focused on addressing basic needs such as housing, health care and mental health services, education, and jobs.

PCH organized this discussion to raise awareness of the need to confront racial injustice and to raise funds for PCH’s COVID-19 Emergency Rent Relief Fund to support PCH residents who have been economically impacted by the pandemic. Since June 2020, PCH has provided a total of 63 months of rent relief.

We are immensely grateful to Dr. Glaude, who not only contributed his time to the event but also made a very generous personal donation to the Emergency Rent Relief Fund. We also would like to extend our gratitude and appreciation to Rev. Mjumbe for contributing his time, knowledge, and the local perspective that guided the conversation. This included raising questions asked by attendees, speaking about the Princeton community, including our past and current shortcomings in racial equality, and drawing parallels between Paul Robeson and James Baldwin.

This event would not have been possible without the more than 120 supporters of PCH who attended and contributed over $16,000 to the COVID-19 Emergency Rent Relief Fund. Thank you! Please go to PCHHomes.org if you wish to support the Relief Fund.

Dr. Glaude closed the event by stating that an infrastructure of care is a framework that has to happen across the country, but that there is no better place to begin that process than a town like Princeton. PCH looks forward to continuing to work collaboratively with our community to build this infrastructure.

Ed Truscelli
Executive Director, Princeton Community Housing,
on behalf of the Board of Trustees