I am a registered and active voter. I always have been since I became of age to legally vote. It’s my right just as it is yours. So, if you allow me to, please let me share why THIS election on May 8th, 2018, is THE election we all need to take seriously and actively participate in, without hesitation.
I understand the lack of faith Patersonians have developed when it comes to electing an official into office. I’ve experienced it myself! I moved to Paterson, NJ in 2006, from New York. Being born and raised in Harlem, NY, Paterson was a culture shock for me. I’ve made calls to my local council persons in regards to complaints about my community and the need for help. As I am writing this Op-Ed piece on this Cinco de Mayo weekend, I still have not received a call or written response back.
We have endured embarrassing news coverage of disgraced officials who have blatantly shown their lack of respect for you and me, the people who live and work in Paterson and want it to live up to its enormous potential. I get it, I truly do. However, in the past few months, I have been pleasantly awakened by a force who has rejuvenated my faith in our city.
I met Zellie Y. Thomas some months ago as a fellow educator in the Paterson Public School District. Zellie’s immediate embrace, genuine interest, and engaging conversation are undeniably the primary characteristics that made me comfortable in his presence. His sincere and personal passion for social change is infectious, inspiring, and motivating. As a single black mother living in Paterson, I feel Zellie understands my concerns well beyond my words. His comprehension of why education is the key to getting our youth on track is magnified to a level we all should only be so lucky to reach. His experiences as a black man and as a black educator are sorely needed on a larger platform to guide and lead Paterson to greater destinations for our children, our schools, our families, and for our lives.
When I found out that Zellie was running for one of the at-large seats on our City Council, I didn’t have to think twice. It was simple and uncomplicated. He is the puzzle piece that we have been looking for to fit this jigsaw Paterson has been broken into.