Friday, September 18, 2009
We are "Forgetting a Whole Other Group of People."
New Jersey is suffering. We’re seeing record rates of unemployment, foreclosures and debt. With each passing day more and more people find themselves closer to bankruptcy and financial ruin.
The fact is that unemployment rates are more than just numbers on paper. Behind those numbers are real people. Perhaps there is no greater sign of the severity of our state’s problems than Transition Park – a self-governing community of over 50 people living in tents right in downtown Camden.
Wednesday, I visited Camden to meet with the residents of Transition Park and was reminded of why I first entered politics. I know that the ultimate goal of politics is not about Republicans, Democrats or Independents; it’s about creating a place where we can all have the best possible opportunity to achieve the American dream.
People from all walks of life come to Transition Park because they are down on their luck and need a place to re-establish themselves. Their tents are draped by tarps to keep the rain out, and there’s even a tent dedicated as a chapel.
But this story – while heartbreaking – is a story of hope. Working with local community organizations and a set of community rules, residents place emphasis on goal setting, finding a job and finding a new place to live. Most importantly, they help one another so they can all get back on their feet.
As Councilwoman Crystal Evans from Gloucester Township stated, we are currently “forgetting a whole other group of people." If our state is to not only recover from this economic crisis, but to come back better and stronger than ever before, then we must vow to never settle for the status quo.
If you would like to learn how you can help the residents of Transition Park, please click here.