Add community gardens to LSP
The people of the Garden State — where our farmers are known to produce more than 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables — shouldn’t face food access and inequity challenges.
Yet, when the New Jersey Economic Development Authority announced the state’s first ranking of food deserts earlier this year, a massive area of Jersey City covering nearly 200,000 residents was included.
As a dedicated volunteer at Rows for the Hungry, a Middlesex County program that grows and donates fresh produce for local distribution and teaches community members how to grow their own food, I see community gardens as a key part of the solution to the food insecurity crisis. The addition of new community gardens in Jersey City would help to address the food insecurity, and the cleanup and renovation of Liberty State Park provides a unique opportunity to tackle the problem.
For some, community gardens are a lifeline to fresh food that might otherwise be unavailable due to meager incomes or living in food deserts. Community gardening also provides environmental benefits (reducing fossil fuel-intensive food storage and delivery), health benefits (gardeners are more likely to consume more fruits and vegetables), social benefits (promotion of community empowerment and involvement), economic benefits (including inspiring a new generation to grow food), and more.
Even if food deserts and food insecurity hopefully become a thing of the past, the many benefits of community gardening will remain. I urge our leaders to think boldly and incorporate community gardens into the future of Liberty State Park.
Gina Kennedy, Rutgers Master Gardener, Sea Girt
Create varied recreation areas in LSP
As lifelong residents of Jersey City, Chris and I are acutely aware of the benefits and challenges of urban living. We raised three children in the Greenville section of Jersey City and have lived Downtown for over 20 years. As a probation officer supervising adults for nearly 30 years, I saw what happens when a person’s potential is not fully realized. My time at St. Anthony High School also allowed me the chance to assist young people to reach their dreams.
That’s why I have long observed the Liberty State Park saga with great interest. I use the park as a cyclist almost daily and love my time away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. However, I am acutely aware of the park’s issues with contamination and lack of more active areas for exercise.
I applaud the New Jersey Legislature for their vote signaling the need to both clean the park and add what the people want and need — without changing the great elements that already exist.
We need ballfields, a community garden, a recreation center, tennis, basketball, and pickleball courts, a track and field training and competition area, and a competition football stadium to give our youth and families the opportunities to excel and grow.
While some ask why can’t Liberty State Park be our Central Park, I ask why it can’t be like Bayonne Park, which continues to add to what has always been a place for all types of leisure activities. Time is wasting!
Coach Bob Hurley, Jersey City
Principals deeply cared about students
I strenuously object to your editorial “Raising up children must always be Job One for JCPS” (Monday), which stated “that no one in leadership roles really cared about children” (at the time of the state takeover).
I was the principal of Lincoln High School at the time of the “takeover” and I can assure you that all of my fellow principals, both high school and elementary, cared deeply about their students and worked tirelessly to provide the best education we could given the conditions under which we worked.
I challenge the editorial board to identify the specific individuals (educators and politicians) that the Jersey Journal editorial board has identified that “didn’t care” and provoked the “takeover.” The hard-working, caring professional educators of the time, both in the classroom and in the school building’s administrative offices, deserve no less.
In fairness, you cannot reasonably indict the entire JCPS staff for the offenses of those individuals that you have identified as the cause of the “takeover.”
John A. Pacifico, retired principal, Lincoln High School, JCPS
Goodbye, Columbus, and good riddance
I lived in Jersey City for almost half a century before moving to Point Pleasant. I fondly remember the thriving Italian community that had existed in Jersey City.
Without doubt, Italians and Italian-Americans should be proud of our heritage, and we should do everything humanly possible to end the negative stereotyping of those of us with roots to Italy.
Yet, every year, we foolishly reinforce all the negative stereotypes that have plagued Italians and Italian-Americans for the last century.
I consider myself a proud Italian. I have openly admonished Italians and Italian-Americans for acting unethically, and I have praised “paisani” for making worthwhile, positive contributions to the community. However, I vehemently disagree with the absurd notion of showing our pride during Columbus Day. Christopher Columbus is not a source of pride for the Italian people. In reality, Columbus is a source of shame and embarrassment to the Italian people throughout the world.
Christopher Columbus is not an Italian hero. Instead, Columbus was Spain’s very first conquistador, and, if you really think about it, he is the “original gangster” in the “New World.”
For many years, I have tried to convince people that we should no longer honor and pay tribute to Christopher Columbus. “Don Colombo” reinforces all the negative stereotypes of Italian people. Just like the stereotypical Mafiosi boss that we see in gangster films, Columbus terrorized and exploited the native population and European settlers for his own personal gain and to maintain control of his territory. Columbus instituted the slave trade in the Western Hemisphere. He was also a “pimp” who rewarded his “lieutenants” with pubescent, underage indigenous girls. Anyone who dared to defy the authority of “Don Colombo” was cruelly punished.
These factual accounts of “Don Colombo” are all very well documented. If we really want to end the negative stereotyping of Italian people, then we must begin by dumping Columbus Day. We shouldn’t allow a “pimp,” murderer, slave trader, and the “original gangster” in the Western Hemisphere to be the “poster boy” of Italian legacy, culture, and heritage.
Carminuccio Cosimo Palladino, Point Pleasant
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