“I believe that Newark should be a just community.”
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Mayor Cory A. Booker, one of the most popular politicos in the US. Our conversation focused on a topic that is often overshadowed, if not wholly ignored, within mainstream media outlets reporting on the Mayor’s tenure and issues of concern within the city of Newark, NJ
Newark has been cast into the national spotlight with its appearance in Sundance Channel’s documentary series, Brick City, and as the location where Mark Zuckerberg invested $100 million in educational reform from his Facebook fortune. Yet, there is much more to know about New Jersey’s largest city, especially as it relates to the many remarkable strides that have been made on behalf of the LGBTQ community in Newark.
[click to continue…]
I grew up in Camden, New Jersey, during a time, not unlike the present, when it was well known as one of the state’s and country’s most economically deprived, criminally devastated urban spaces. Poverty was felt and seen. Friends were murdered before the celebration of their eighteenth birthdays. Hopelessness was evidenced on streets where homes sat abandoned along trash-lined streets. And, despite all of this, I was carefully and lovingly nurtured by a young mother who sought to protect her quirky son from the staunch realities of life growing up in a troubled urban space that we both loved and called home.
I considered why it was that they would be so determined to set me on fire.
My mother was a victim of intimate partner violence. My father, who was fifteen when I was born, seemed to know more about hurt than love. And, he demonstrated that knowledge through his actions.
The first time I tried to end my life my father had just finished brutally beating my mother. I felt horrified, angry and helpless. While I do not remember the specifics of that particular attack, I do remember my response. Eleven years of life, or so, had begun to feel like an eternity of pain and I wanted out quickly. So, I moved toward the window in the small bedroom that I shared with my three younger sisters and with mournful tears in my eyes announced that I was about to jump. I thought that my leap would distract my father long enough to stop him from punching my mom in her face and would be cause for my other family member’s intervention in a common occurrence that was wreaking havoc on all of our lives.
[click to continue…]