Local Fraternity Stands with the community In the Fight To Protect Newark’s Children

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Marc B. Minor who is a member of the Maplewood-Oranges Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and a principal in Clean Water Alliances—an advocacy group whose mission is to assure the continuous availability and delivery of clean, clear, safe and nutritious drinking water-  stood on the steps of West Side High School to make good on that very mission by donating bottles of water to the school.

The event was attended by Newark School Board President Antoinette Baskerville–Richardson. Mrs. Baskerville-Richardson  said, “the responsibility lies with the state and with the Governor”. She expressed her support for this effort and urged continued pressure and focus on  who has the capacity to solve this problem. She thanked Kappa Alpha Psi for the donation and she thanked Clean Water Alliances for putting together the event and bringing the community together. Mrs. Baskerville-Richardson said her hope was that the community would stay together, build the movement and fight for the schools that all of our children deserve.

Newark Public School Board Member Kim Gaddy, who is a representative of Clean Water Action NJ, also attended the event.  Ms. Gaddy said, “the mission is to ensure that all individuals have the right to quality water that is both safe and affordable”. She thanked Kappa Alpha Psi and Clean Water Alliances for their donation but went on to say that the focus needs to be on repairing the infrastructure of Newark’s schools. She said that the irreversible harm of lead exposure need to be addressed and contamination made a thing of the past.

District leader Sheila Montague who represents the 49th district was also in attendance. She currently serves under the supervision of Democratic Chair, Senator Ron Rice. Mrs. Montague made history by running on the line with the first woman candidate for President, Hillary Clinton.

Brenda Toyloy, who is a former environmental commissioner, spoke of the many contaminants and carcinogens that should continue to be of  concern. Ms. Toyloy who attended the press conference at the invitation of Mrs. Montague suggested that the long term solution would be the installation of a filtration system at the tap.

Rev. Perry Simmons, Senior Pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church, spoke and committed the support of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Mayor Ras Baraka, and the Black Clergy Alliance.  Rev. Simmons warned that “we’re not going anywhere, and that the state is going to have to accept responsibility and make sure we get the proper funding so that all of our schools are guaranteed clean water.”  He also stated, “[o]ur children are not only our future, they are our present. We have to make sure they are all able to get safe drinking water.” He called the issue an epidemic and suggested that it was more prevalent in a multitude of urban areas.

He pledged that the following would be happy to work with Clean Water Alliances in it’s efforts to ensure the availability and delivery of clean, clear, safe and nutritious drinking water:

  • Newark & North Jersey committee  of Black Churchman
  • Black Ministers Conference of Newark and Vicinity
  • Clergy Affairs Department of the City of Newark

Mr. Minor concluded by challenging those present to be more involved, to support the efforts of the Clean Water Alliance, and to hold legislators in Trenton accountable.  About next steps for the effort, Mr. Minor said, “this is only the beginning.”  Visit cleanwateralliances.org for additional information.

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