Peace be unto you,
My name is Sara, and this blog isn’t about me. It’s about you.
I’ve lived in Trenton for most of my life, and over the years I’ve come to realize that the deteriorating condition of our once booming city cannot be blamed solely on race riots and white flight. Once those were the problem, but today we have a new problem. Many of our best are just waiting for an opportunity to, “get out of Trenton,” to move on to a better place, and forget the hurting city we’ve left behind.
Don’t like the school system? Move to Lawrenceville. Upset about the way the library is being run into the ground? Go to Ewing. Wish you could recycle, but the recycling truck doesn’t come according to schedule? Just toss it in the trash. Maybe one day you can live in a civilized place with a sense of environmental responsibility, but Trenton will never be that place, and there’s no reason for you to try to make it into that place.
Our schools exist only to warehouse our children and treat them like the budding criminals we all know they are by keeping them under constant surveillance setting up metal detectors at all entrances. Our library’s sole purpose is the enrichment of out-of-towners, who care nothing for our needs. Our entire city is a nice little unwatched cookie jar for anyone who can smile and say hello at a gathering; and every time our money (something we definitely don’t have an unlimited supply of) is wasted on some frivolity in the face of our city’s many needs, we’re told something along the lines of, “Oh, you think the $17,000 spent on Cadwalader Park’s unnecessary new sign would have been better spent on replacing its swings or cutting its grass? You poor fool, clearly you don’t know how politics works. A $17,000 sign with the mayor’s name on it is a reminder to everyone of what a fantastic job the mayor is doing with the money he has. As soon as they see that sign legislators will be clamoring to give our worthy city more money. Just you wait and see.”
The truth of the matter though is this, you are responsible for that sign. It’s your fault and mine that our library has somehow been allowed to spend $15,000 on a brand new circulation desk when we couldn’t even afford to keep all of our branches open. As long as you and I, and all of our friends and families are silent, the little money that our city has will continue to be frittered away, and no one will say anything. Moving out of Trenton will not change who any of us is, and if you think you deserve a better run, better cared for city, then you have to ask for it.
It’s time for Trenton to wake up and live out the true meaning of Martin Luther King Jr.’s creed. Renaming streets and schools in honor of a hero is all good and well, but to truly honor him, to give true meaning to his sacrifice and the sacrifice of his family we must do something with the rights he fought for so hard. To live in a good place, a place with good schools, libraries, and parks you have to be a good citizen. Attend public meetings. Once there, speak. Talk about what you hear afterwards. Hold those with decision making abilities accountable. And remember, this is your city. No one can take that from you without your consent.