Opinion: Sheila Montague


Building a More Inclusive Community

A Perspective on Antiquated Political Practices and Gender Exclusion

By Sheila Montague

There is much that each of us can do to significantly impact change here in the city of Newark. One essential strategy is to initiate the process of raising social awareness as it pertains to community building. Not only does this cater to benefits of social reform, but it can simultaneously be used as a vehicle to decrease crime. There are two critical aspects in developing a stronger Newark that can be immediately implemented to establish vertical growth in the efforts of moving our city forward. The first of these is organization. Organization is a key component in developing a comprehensive strategy to develop a more unified structure within the city and decrease crime in our community. The second key element that must be included is mobilization. So, lets take a moment to examine how to strategically incorporate organization and mobilization into a means of attack in decreasing crime in our community. The game of chess represents a fantastic microcosm of today’s society as it pertains to the current political landscape in the city of Newark.

In the game of chess the queen is essential. She is the critical barometer of power in the game. Why? Because of her mobility. Without her the king is virtually powerless. This scenario is synonymous to what we are dealing with today in the realm of local politics. To truly make strides in uniting a city that is divided in so many key areas, we must first recognize the importance of allowing every stakeholder a seat at the table as it pertains to devising the plans to correct the social ills that plague, not just our community, but urban communities as a whole.

Ironically, despite the necessity of the queen’s power and insight, women have faced dynamic challenges when attempting to access power. While political families and aging regimes struggle to maintain power and relevance at the expense of positive change, we fall further into the abyss of social and economic decay.

Until we recognize the importance of the endgame that is at play, we will continue to be confronted with the harsh challenges of coalescing into a unit that is capable of fighting back the adversary we face. That is why we need fresh faces and ideas in our efforts to organize and mobilize.

Antiquated political practices geared towards maintaining personal power have consistently failed to engage the masses into a cohesive unit. It is important that we recognize that there are other individuals that have something to offer in this struggle other than the same family dynasties that have reigned for the last fifty years. Specifically the women in our communities who have consistently been cast aside under the guise of derelict practices like “waiting your turn” and “playing your part”. Misogynistic code for, the women belong at the rear, while the men are out front. This practice has consistently gotten us nowhere. So I am charging the women of this great city of Newark to join me in my efforts to organize and mobilize the people of Newark. By increasing fraternity amongst motivated and empowered individuals, we can Change The Lens Together.

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