Anti-Violence Tour Stops in New Brunswick
Salaam Ismial of the National United Youth Council is bringing a message of non-violence to 18 cities in New Jersey through July 31.
Against the backdrop of Feaster Park, an area that has seen both violent spats and community unity, Salaam Ismial of the United Youth Council discussed his plans for the NJ Anti-Violence Tour 4 Peace.
The aim of the tour is to hit 18 cities in eight days, bringing a message of community unity and anti-street and gun violence.
The final date, July 31, will include a 1 p.m. stop in Trenton, where Ismial plans to hold a press conference to discuss the aims of the tour.
Ismial, who is based in Elizabeth, is a community activist with 30 years of activism under his belt.
His latest campaign has entailed his speaking to governing bodies throughout the state, asking that cities and counties adopt the CDC's guidelines addressing urban violence, and declare violence a public health crisis in those communities.
Earlier this year, Union County became the first county in the state to declare violence a public health crisis, and it was followed by Hudson County. Newark has also passed a resolution supporting the declaration, Ismial said.
In April, Ismial appeared before the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, who to-date have not chosen to adopt such a resolution.
The purpose of the tour is threefold, Ismial said on Wednesday at Feaster Park, where the small group stopped before visiting neighborhoods in Franklin Park.
They aim to urge the Governor and state officials to declare violence a public emergency in New Jersey; urge legislators to hold public hearings on violence in their home districts; and convince the state to put together a commission to study the causes, trends and impact of urban violence for the purpose of coming up with ways to address it.
New Brunswick's crime patterns spiked in November 2011, with 15 gun-related crimes in a single month.
More recently, two men were shot on Suydam Street in the wee hours of a June morning during a robbery.
Nationally, violence is not a popular topic with politicians and community groups, Ismial said. It's complicated, and sometimes dangerous, and doesn't have easy answers.
"We have to make this popular," he said.
Ismial said the purpose of the tour is not to hold rallies or marches and make a lot of noise. The tour aims to go out into the community and meet with people in the streets to discuss the problem of violence, call them to political action and urge them to contact their legislators for support.
"That's what changes everything," he said.
The tour has already stopped in Elizabeth, Roselle Park, Linden, East Orange, Irvington, Newark and Jersey City.
Additional stops are as follows:
- 7 p.m. July 27 - Atlantic City
- 1 p.m. July 28 - Asbury Park
- 2 p.m. July 28 - Lakewood
- 11 a.m. July 29 - Plainfield
- 6 p.m. July 30 - Paterson
- 7 p.m. July 30 - Passaic
- 1 p.m. July 31 - Trenton
- 3 p.m. July 31 - Salem
- 5 p.m. July 31 - Camden
For more information, visit http://unitedyouthcouncil.org.