July 6, 2022

Joint Effort Safe Streets 2022 Plans Nine Days of Celebrations in August

By Donald Gilpin

“Dedicated to the memory of our ancestors,” Joint Effort Safe Streets 2022 has announced nine days of tributes, education, sports, and celebration, all in the Witherspoon-Jackson (W-J) neighborhood of Princeton starting on August 5.

Three “Hot Topics” discussions will highlight the proceedings with participants considering “Reparations in New Jersey” on August 9 in the Princeton Public Library; a panel on “Racism in America: What Does It Mean for Princeton?” on August 11 at the Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church; and “Education, Development, Affordable Housing, Marijuana, Candidates Forum, and More” on the agenda for August 13 at the First Baptist Church.

A Gospel Music Festival and Black Family Recognition will take place at the First Baptist Church on August 7 with 12 Black Princeton families — the Broadways, the Campbells, the Edwards, the Fishers, the Livermans, the Macks, the Maddens, the Masseys, the Newlins, the Parkers, the Smiths, and the Wells — being recognized and awarded a community print.

The W-J family remembrance program will recognize 12 Black Princeton families every year, said lead Joint Effort Safe

Streets organizer John Bailey, and the families will each receive a copy of a print created by Aaron Fisher that captures the spirit of the community.

On August 10 there will be an arts, culture, and scholarship program at the Arts Council of Princeton, featuring the Cynthia “Chip” Fisher Memorial Art Exhibit and the Jim Floyd Memorial Lecture delivered by Jennifer Garcon, Princeton University librarian for Modern and Contemporary Special Collections, who will talk about the Romus Broadway collage project currently underway under the auspices of the University and the Arts Council.

At the August 10 event additional Aaron Fisher prints will be awarded to a number of institutions in the community that have “engaged the community and made a step forward in trying to do the right thing for everybody,” said Bailey.

Other featured events in the Joint Effort Safe Streets celebration include a kick-off reception and salute to Shirley Satterfield and the Witherspoon-Jackson Historical and Cultural Society at Studio Hillier, a W-J community tour, a series of different Meet & Greet events throughout the week, a community block festival on the YMCA field, and a basketball clinic and the Pete Young Memorial Basketball Games  on the Community Park basketball courts. 

Bailey discussed the importance of Joint Effort Safe Streets in keeping the history of the community alive and using that history to inspire and motivate the future. “Often we talk about how we’re losing our leadership, so I’m trying to keep our history alive and to help folks — especially the young folks — recognize the contributions that our ancestors and families have made and continue to make. Part of that is trying to keep hope alive in Princeton. History inspires the future and we’re taking our history to inspire future generations of young folks.”

Bailey, who now lives in Denver but grew up in Princeton and returns every year to take charge of Joint Effort Safe Streets, reflected on the driving force that motivates him. “It’s a labor of love,” he said. “Folks in the community raised me and loved me and gave me an opportunity to be a better person. That’s why I come back home and try to put that same energy back into the next generation.”