Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Necessities of Life Redux

This year, Plainfield will be observing LGBT Pride Month with a flag raising ceremony at 7:00 pm tomorrow--Thursday, June 15 at City Hall Plaza. It is fitting that we do so, as we also observe and reflect on the one year anniversary of the horrific act of homophobic violence that resulted in the deaths of 49 LGBT folks at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. I posted about this last year, but feel the need to revisit it. As I also noted last year, I was especially struck by the faces of Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22, originally from New Jersey, and of 18 year-old Akyra Murray, a young black lesbian, who were among the youngest of the victims. I cannot right now articulate why they stand out so clearly for me...perhaps because they remind me of my students...may they rest...but still haunt our collective conscience as we fight to end gun violence. The words of the late Marlon Riggs resonate even today: 

"It is necessary to constantly remind ourselves that we are not an abomination." --Marlon Riggs 

At right are the images of the 49 mostly Latinx and black victims. For those of you who snicker, call names, make homophobic comments (and/or stand by while others make them), who minimize the nature of this specific attack on our LGBT sisters and brothers of color with attempts to deflect or deny that this was a hate crime, who don't believe that people like me (black, gay, out, proud) deserve the same rights as you, who misuse religion to spread hatred while saying that you are a Christian...for those of you who deny the children, nieces, nephews, cousins, grandparents, friends, mothers, fathers, and church friends in your own lives whom you KNOW are LGBT family...think about the seeds of destruction that you have sown through your own acts and thoughts, and how that contributes to horrific acts of violence. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Hannah Atkins Pool Opening on Saturday, May 27!

Once again, the Plainfield Division of Parks and Recreation will open the Hannah Atkins Pool on Memorial Day weekend, as the division has done in the two previous years.
As noted in the flier below, the pool will be open on weekends, starting Saturday, May 27 from 12 noon - 6:00 pm. Kids will meet the pool mascot, "Finn, the Dolphin!" The first 50 children to arrive will receive FREE swim goggles and swimming caps. The other pools, at Seidler Field and Rushmore Park, are being readied for their regularly scheduled openings in June.

The City of Plainfield website has the summer schedule of recreation activities and events, including outdoor movie nights, fishing derbies, free yoga, and more. Click on this link, 
Plainfield Division of Parks and Recreation, to be taken to the page of activities--please remember to check back regularly, as more events will be added throughout the summer.

I would also urge those of you who use Facebook to "Like" Plainfield's official Facebook page, where you can find out about all the events and happenings through our city. Click here: City of Plainfield, NJ - The Queen City

Contact the Division of Parks and Recreation at (908) 753-3097 or email to find out more information. Enjoy a relaxing Memorial Day weekend.



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Plainfield Rescue Squad Open House This Saturday, May 20!

This Saturday, May 20, the Plainfield Rescue Squad will be hosting an Open House from 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. The Plainfield Rescue Squad provides an invaluable service to our community, as they are among our First Responders in emergencies. Come to the Open House, located at the Plainfield Rescue Squad Headquarters--700 W. 7th Street, corner of Spooner Avenue--and learn more about the Rescue Squad. Membership applications are available for the EMS Cadet Corps, and for the Auxiliary and Explorer Programs. Fill out an application to become a volunteer. The flier below has all the information--several city agencies, including Recreation, Plainfield Action Services, and the Plainfield Advisory Commission on Hispanic Affairs (PACHA) will also be in attendance to provide information to the community.  



Sunday, May 7, 2017

Remembering Jo-Jo, Jo-Ann Sloane

Jo-Ann Sloane (at right) with Plainfield's Linda Carter* in 2006.
Today, May 7, marks the birthday of our dearly departed friend, Jo-Ann Sloane, who died in February of 2008. Jo-Jo, as we affectionately called her, worked at the Lyon VA Hospital and at the Plainfield Area YMCA. Jo-Jo was also an integral part of the Plainfield political and activist community, serving as treasurer for the late Mayor Al McWilliams and for New Democrats for Plainfield, the political club founded by Al and a bunch of us, some of whom are now elected officials here in Plainfield. 

A die-hard Eagles fan, Jo-Jo's car was always decked out with Eagles gear--whenever we rode together in her car, I always felt like I was in an Eagles pro shop! Jo-Ann was a part of a "Black Biographies" book club that some of our mutual friends started--her commentary was always insightful (and often very humorous).   Some of you will also remember Jo-Ann's favorite wine, Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, a bottle of which she always brought to special occasions and parties. I remember one Thanksgiving when Jo-Jo brought a bottle over to my house and my sister thought that adding some of the wine to her ginger ale would make a tasty spritzer--the look that Jo-Ann (who was mock-horrified at the idea of diluting the wine) gave her was priceless: "Not my $20 bottle of wine"... 

Jo-Jo's  laugh is one of the things that I remember most--beginning with a sort of a cackle and then moving to a deep guffaw. I miss her. It's been a little over nine years since we lost her to cancer, but she will always be our hearts. May she continue to rest in God's peace.



*At the time, Linda Carter was serving as Councilwoman At-large for the 1st and 4th Wards. She now serves on the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Friday, May 5, 2017


The Plainfield Division of Parks & Recreation continues to offer these  popular courses--FREE Yoga and FREE Zumba--at the following locations--just download the fliers! These activities continue through June!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

April 4, 1968

49 years ago...

Nina Simone, singing "Why? (The King of Love is Dead)"