I was fortunate to stand shoulder to shoulder with the trailblazers of advocacy at the rally on Thursday. This was the first time in a long stretch of time, that multiple Paterson organizations joined forces for one common cause: to protect and defend the children of our community and city. While we strongly detest all forms of cruelty to animals we equally detest all forms of cruelty to children. That was why we were there.
It was amazing to see so many activists, community leaders, youth pastors and elected officials – all standing together in unity and solidarity for our children. Indeed, the group that came to lambaste our children were taken back by the push-back of concerned Paterson residents who were determined not to afford them the opportunity to humiliate, demonize or criminalize our children any further.
Special salute to my colleague, Dr. Jonathon Hodges who spearheaded this effort. Had he not called attention to what was being done under the shadows, we would not have been prepared. He is truly a dedicated public servant and leader in Paterson. Special salute to the Rev. Kenneth Clayton and the NAACP-Paterson Chapter for leading us – the residents of Paterson, to unite our collective voices.
No one was threatened. There were no acts of violence. We were simply exercising our rights as American citizens to assemble and air our grievances as is permitted by the constitution of the United States. I am certain that a follow up will be forthcoming. Many will still seek to critique what was done yesterday. The sum of my opinion is that the children should receive some form of counseling but not juvenile charges.
We don’t condone cruelty to animals. But we especially don’t condone cruelty to children! There must be a more efficient solution to this unfortunate situation than to just throw our children away. That won’t happen, not under my watch. As long as I am alive, I will continue to fight for the rights of all our children. Again, I want to thank everyone who came out and supported this effort. Now, let’s work together as Patersonians.
School board member