Recently, the Paterson Times published an article which highlighted the fact that I had applied for bankruptcy in the past. This is a reality which reflects the pasts of many residents of Paterson.
I come from a poor family that emigrated from the Dominican Republic in pursuit of happiness. And yes, we owned businesses and homes in the City of Paterson until we hit hard times. Like many residents of Paterson, I’ve had to work two jobs at the same time to support my family and even when working two jobs I could not afford basic health, housing and education needs.
I have the conviction that being poor could be the beginning of my journey and a big part of my life, but it doesn’t define my final destination. I have worked proudly and honestly for years to be able to move my 5 children forward and with their heads held high.
Being poor does not embarrass me, but it reminds me of where I come from and the people I go out to work with every day and those I’m trying to represent with dignity.
My experience of coming from humble origins is what motivates me to want to represent the 6th Ward with dignity. While talking to our residents and listening to the difficulties they are experiencing with constant tax increases, crime and the lack of adequate education, I realize that these are the same needs that I have experienced and that is why I am confident that I can better represent this ward.
Unlike Mr. Al Abdelaziz, who has received on a silver platter the position of Councilman and his government job thanks to his political connections, earning luxury salaries that doesn’t reflect the struggles that our residents confront each day.
As I conclude this letter, I just want to remind you that “being poor is not a crime.” It’s a reflection of perseverance and dedicated work without asking for donations to political groups that then in exchange exploit our resources and at the cost of more tax increases on back of our hard-working citizens!
Written by Jeyss Abreu, a candidate for the 6th Ward city council seat.