Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Thanks, Plainfield!

We couldn't have done it without you!
Third Ward Councilman-Elect Charles McRae and At-large Councilwoman-Elect Rebecca Williams for the City of Plainfield!

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Case for Charles and Rebecca - Vote Column A in Plainfield

On Tuesday, November 8, Plainfield voters will take part in a historic election, one that will make Hillary Clinton the first woman to serve as President of the United States. In addition to Secretary Clinton, Plainfielders will vote on the future of our city. Charles McRae and I are on the ballot in Column A with Hillary Clinton, our Congresswoman, the Honorable Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Linda Carter and the Union County Freeholders. This has been quite an election season--with much demagoguery and divisiveness at the national level. Here in Plainfield, however, the choice is clear. After winning the Democratic primary, I am poised to become your next Councilwoman At-Large for the City of Plainfield. I will be as visible across the city as I always have been, and I pledge to provide the same quality of representation for all of Plainfield that I have given to the Second and Third Wards. 

Charles will bring a new voice to the Third Ward--he will be accessible, visible, and he will always put Plainfield first. Charles made a very important statement at last week's candidate forum. In effect, he noted that Plainfielders have a choice--to move Plainfield forward, or to go back to the past. Charles's opponent represents the past--a record of failure and ineptitude that marked her eight year tenure running this city. The lack of leadership in the Third Ward since 2014--the divisiveness, the rudeness, the obtuseness, the lack of even bothering to come to council meetings--will be the legacy of the past representative.  

Charles represents the future--forward progress by working with Mayor Mapp and the current administration to bring you the high quality of service that you deserve. Charles and I have been endorsed by Councilmen Barry Goode and Cory Storch, the Plainfield Democratic City Committee--led by Chairman Adrian Mapp, the Union County Democratic Committee, Congresswoman Coleman, and the freeholder board. The choice is clear: Charles McRae and Rebecca Williams. Vote Column A.





Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Plainfield Library's Museum Pass Program--Passes, Tickets, and Discounts!

As if the Plainfield Public Library isn't already the jewel of our city, there's even more great news for library cardholders! Assistant Director Tina-Marie Doody has made the following announcement: “We are excited to announce that the Library now has a Museum Pass program available for Plainfield residents. This program will allow Plainfield residents who are cardholders to checkout passes/tickets or receive a discount for a variety of museums and institutions in our area free of charge!” As we move into the fall/winter holiday season, this is a wonderful opportunity for families to visit some of the major cultural sites in the metro area. Click on this link to see the complete list, along with rules regarding the program: Plainfield Library Museum Passes

Among the museums included are the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, Liberty Hall Museum in Union, Turtleback Zoo in West Orange, Adventure Aquarium in Camden, Imagine That: A Children's Museum in Florham Park, the Crayola Experience in Easton, PA, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Children's Museum of Manhattan, and the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan--please note: The admission price for the American Museum of Natural History is simply a SUGGESTED admission. Do not purchase tickets online if you want to pay less than what is suggested--if you go straight to the admission counter, you may pay what you wish, or pay nothing at all. However, the special exhibits and movies do have a fixed price.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

We're With Her! Let's Make "HERstory!"

Please join us on the campaign trail as we work with the national Democratic Party to elect the first woman president, Hillary Clinton. We will be making phone calls and canvassing across Plainfield on behalf Charles McRae, our 3rd Ward City Council Candidate, all the way up the Democratic ticket--with Plainfield's own Linda Carter and the freeholders, our congresswoman, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman--to Secretary Hillary Clinton. I cannot stress how important this election is to our city--at the local level, we need Charles on the council as we continue to move Plainfield forward. For those of you who attended last night's candidate forum, listening as Charles's opponent blamed her eight failed years as mayor on me and on Adrian Mapp (such foolishness--lol!), you know that THE CHOICE IS CLEAR.    

Come down to Plainfield Democratic Headquarters, located at 31 Watchung Avenue, next to Antojito's Restaurant (and the municipal lot) to make calls or help us distribute campaign literature. We're a nice bunch, and we have good coffee! Call Ron at 908-205-8984, or just come on down after 12:00 noon.



Thursday, September 29, 2016

Halloween Recreation Division Activities for October!

The month of October brings a number of activities to Plainfield as we settle into autumn. On Halloween weekend, Plainfield's Division of Parks and Recreation hosts two signature events--Saturday, October 29, we've got "Doggie Howl," a dog costume contest, and then on Monday, October 31, we'll have fun with "Halloween Trunk or Treat," with cars decorated for Halloween and filled with treats for our children. Both events take place in the City Hall parking lot, located behind 515 Watchung Avenue. If you want to participate in "Trunk or Treat" by decorating your car, contact Recreation at (908) 753-3097. Click on the images below and print them out--we look forward to seeing you there!

Monday, September 19, 2016

National Voter Registration Day at Plainfield High School!

Join us for National Voter Registration Day in Plainfield on Tuesday, September 27th from 6:00 - 8:30 pm at Plainfield High School Cafeteria (Kenyon Avenue entrance) as The League of Women Voters of Plainfield partners with the City of Plainfield (including the Plainfield Youth Commission, the Plainfield Advisory Commission on Hispanic Affairs, and the Human Relations Commission), the Plainfield Board of Education, Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. Social Action Committee, Omicron Chi Chapter Omega Psi Phi, First Unitarian Society of Plainfield Social Justice Committee, National Association of University Women, and Union County Board of Elections for this educational forum as we get out the vote! 

Refreshments will be served, and FREE "VOTE 411" backpacks will be given the to first 50 attendees! 

* You must be a U.S. citizen to vote in the election.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Free Event: Plainfield Plays Tennis - Sunday, September 25

Plainfield Plays Tennis--this free event is scheduled for Sunday, September 25 from 3:00 - 8:00 pm at the Donald Van Blake Tennis  Courts. Registration ends this Friday, September 16, so contact the Division of Parks and Recreation at (908) 753-3096 for more information!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Plainfield's Annual Community Barbecue This Saturday, August 20

The 9th Annual Plainfield Community BBQ, hosted as always by Mayor Adrian O. Mapp and First Lady Amelia Mapp, is scheduled for Saturday, August 20, 2016, from 4:00 pm until midnight, at the mayor's home, located at 535 West 8th Street, Plainfield, NJ. The BBQ is open to the entire Plainfield community. 

This year's cost of admission, just like last year's: Canned/non-perishable food items, as well as toiletries, for donation to our neediest Plainfielders.*

I am including portions of a post from last year, regarding toiletries. Feminine products such as tampons and sanitary napkins are very much in demand, as they are expensive and usually not listed as "toiletries," per se. I would urge folks to also contribute these items for distribution at our local shelters. I have cut and pasted an article on this topic by Madeleine Davies below--or, you may just click on the link. Please be a generous donor! I will see you on Saturday!

Of the all the extreme challenges faced by homeless people, the lack of access to menstruation products is one that, for many homeless women, is among the worst and most humiliating.

In many cases, homeless shelters will have both limited resources in regards to pads and tampons, as well as strict bathroom restrictions that make it increasingly hard, if not impossible, for women to keep clean while having their periods. Not only that, but, as The Huffington Post's Eleanor Goldberg puts it, "the fact that menstruation is a taboo topic to begin with means that people who are able help often aren't even aware that such a vast need exists."

It was that realization that motivated Joanie Balderstone and Rebecca McIntire to start Distributing Dignity, an organization devoted to "distributing pads, bras and tampons to women in need."

Feminine hygiene products are often overlooked during natural disaster drives (as a friend who volunteered during the Hurricane Sandy aftermath once told me, "All these poor women want is some goddamn tampons") and even in donations to women's shelters. 

From Philly.com (via HuffPo):

Jeey Moncayo is a caseworker for Camden County Women's Center, where more than a thousand women in 2013 found safety from abusive relationships. She said most women escape their abusers in a hurry, arriving with just the clothes they're wearing. For others, their abusers, in fits of rage, have burned or thrown bleach on their clothes.
Mothers spend any money they have on their kids first. "The women's needs come last," she said.
In June, the center received 150 bras from Distributing Dignity. The women especially liked the option of feminine pads marked narrow, slim, and tween. "It sounds silly," said Moncayo, "but the choice is empowering."

Something to consider next time you donate. Another thing to consider: the government subsidizing tampons and pads.

*If you are unable to attend this year's barbecue,the First Family asks you drop off your items on their front porch at 535 West 8th Street.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Jamaica Independence Day Flag-raising on Friday, August 12

On Friday, August 12th, the City of Plainfield will recognize the 54th anniversary of Jamaica's independence with a flag-raising ceremony at city hall, with festivities from 6:00 - 8:00 PM. As a city with a significant Jamaican-American population, join us as we continue to celebrate our diversity!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Support Our Youth Cadets - Graduation Ceremony for QC Mentoring Academy This Friday

2016 Queen City Mentoring Academy cadets. Photo by UCC Congregational Church.


For those of you who attended last night's National Night Out and cheered for our youth cadets of the Queen City Mentoring Academy, facilitated by the Plainfield Police Division, you have another opportunity to do so! The entire community is invited to the graduation ceremony for these young cadets. Graduation is scheduled for this Friday, August 5, 2016, from 6:00-8:00 PM at Plainfield High School. Come and support our young people. We are a strong community!



Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Plainfield's National Night Out: Tuesday, August 2 at City Hall Plaza

As the Chair of the City Council's Recreation Committee, I am truly looking forward to this year's National Night Out, scheduled for this coming Tuesday, August 2nd, beginning at 6:30 pm. For the second year in a row, participating city council members will caravan throughout the city with police personnel, stopping and chatting with residents, block associations, and neighborhood watch groups. The city hall events will begin at 6:30 pm, with the presentation of Community Service Awards to some of our senior citizens. There will be a Kids Zone, safety demonstrations from the Plainfield Fire Division and the Police Division, a car show, live music, and food. Limited quantities of school bags and school supplies will also be given out. As we work to keep our city safe, we can also have fun. I hope to see you there!



Thursday, July 21, 2016

Tonight! Plainfield Outdoor Movie Nights: Disney's "Inside Out" at Seidler Field

This is just a final reminder that tonight's Plainfield Outdoor Movie Nights film is Disney's Inside Out, at Seidler Field (341 Garfield Avenue) at 8:30 pm--dusk, for best viewing.*  Today will be an extremely warm day, but the temperature should be cooled down to about 80 degrees by the time the film begins. Bring your chair, some extra snacks, maybe a little bug spray, and enjoy being outdoors. The sound system and screen are awesome. The image below has the remainder of the schedule of films, which are being screened at a variety of locations throughout the Plainfield community.

*NOTE: Rain Dates are set for the Friday immediately following the original movie night--i.e., the rain date for this Thursday's screening would be Friday, July 22.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" at Cedar Brook Park Sunday, July 24

"Malvolio" from Twelfth Night. Photo by Next Stage Ensemble.
This Sunday, July 24, enjoy a treat! Union County’s FREE Shakespeare in the Park tour of Twelfth Night,* performed by Next Stage Ensemble, arrives in Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield on Sunday, July 24 at 2 p.m. Shakespeare in the Park is sponsored by by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. I love Twelfth Night--it is very funny, and appealing to all ages. I saw a fantastic production about 8 years ago down in Staunton, VA at the American Shakespeare Center. Click here for more information about Shakespeare in the Park. Bring your snacks and lawn chairs, and come out to enjoy one of Shakespeare's most entertaining comedies!

*Note--this is an abridged version.

Monday, July 18, 2016

American Crucible

History is now/American crucible/May we not perish.

The image above appeared in the August 1, 1863 edition of Harper's Weekly. It is an illustration of the burning of the Colored Orphans Asylum on Fifth Avenue, during the New York City Draft Riots, which occurred from July 13-16, and which remain the bloodiest and deadliest riots in American history. 

Click on the link below for a brief history: Virtual New York - The Draft Riots

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Katherine the Great

It's been quite a while since I posted the last black American legend for the Haiku Hall of Blackness. Here's one for the late Katherine Dunham. Click on the interview below to hear more about this black American dance pioneer.

Master syncretist/
American dance icon/
"Katherine the Great." 

Thursday, June 16, 2016


Peruse the images of the 49 mostly Latinx and black victims of the homophobic murder spree in Orlando by clicking on this link to a photo gallery published by the New York Daily News: Victims of the Orlando nightclub mass shooting 

The photo gallery provides an opportunity to see all those who died and to learn a little about them. I am 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.