Taking a stand against racism
by Michelle Angermiller and Chris Sturgis / The Times of Trenton / April 4, 2009
“It’s so exciting to see that a program that was created here in Mercer County is so successful that 320 other organizations throughout New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut are now reproducing it in their communities,” Jose A. Hernandez, CEO of the YWCA of Trenton, said.
Some listened to speeches and songs at Trenton City Hall. Others pledged in writing to fight racism and discrimination of any kind at a booth staffed by the United Way of Greater Mercer County at the Quaker Bridge Mall.
Still more converged on Gilmore’s Café on South Warren Street for an evening of readings on social justice sponsored by the I Am Trenton Community Foundation.
“Our core values align with the Stand’s goals of breaking down barriers between people and developing ways to work cooperatively using shared perspectives,” said Debby D’Arcangelo, board president of the I Am Trenton Community Foundation.
At the Lawrenceville Neighborhood Service Center, the after-school program featured a showing and discussion of the film “Pride.”
The Terrence Howard film tells the true story of Jim Ellis, a man who used a rundown recreation center in Philadelphia to change tough street kids into competitive swimmers.
“We are going to keep things positive as we talk to the kids about their perceptions of racism, ” said Carlos Hendricks, director of the Neighborhood Service Center.
“It’s a different social climate, now, with the election of the first African-American president. It has affected other things, and now the kids are looking at what their possibilities are,” he said.
Also linking arms with the YWCAs were the Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce, the City of Trenton, Princeton Township, St. Francis Medical Center, Thomas Edison State College, Princeton University, Junior Achievement, Child Care Connection, Womanspace, NAACP, Planned Parenthood, Crisis Ministry, Rescue Mission and other hospitals, churches, universities, small businesses, and civic associations….