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Black Businesses Matter

Black Business Month was started 14 years ago to draw attention to the importance of these businesses to the Black community and to our nation’s economy. This effort is celebrated every August and it’s worth reminding us all why this is important. It also serves to highlight initiatives that assist in creating opportunities for Black-owned businesses.

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International Day of Friendship

I want to wish everyone Happy International Day of Friendship. Yes, this is a real celebratory day, which occurs every July 30th, and we should all participate. 

The United Nations designed this day to promote peace, happiness and unity. The essence of the effort is that occasionally we focus too much on our differences rather than our similarities. It should be the other way around.

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Relief for New Jersey Businesses During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The financial pinch for businesses in New Jersey continues during the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, it has become a tight, seemingly unending squeeze, far more than a pinch. 

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Coronavirus, Students & Veterans: A Time for Relief

I’ve talked in recent blogs about my efforts to assist our citizens who have felt the lash of the coronavirus – businesses, employees, homeowners, renters, and more. Two groups in particular are also in need of a boost now: our students and our veterans.

College students are generally young, eager for experience, and are preparing to start their career. However, they face obstacles — temporarily, I hope — that we never encountered because of the coronavirus pandemic. College alone can be a boulder. But the pandemic has tipped the boulder downhill. Students are struggling with loans and graduating without the joyful ceremony they earned. Most are facing gloomy employment prospects. And while students confront this dismal job market, they need some help, because the payments and interest on their college loans are not disappearing. The clock keeps ticking on those financial demands. 

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Helping The Food Banks Address Food Insecurity

Recently, I sponsored a food distribution event in partnership with my legislative colleagues, Assemblyman Herb Conaway and Assemblywoman Carol Murphy. Even though we practiced social distancing, it provided me with a front-row view of one of the difficult and unintended consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been food insecurity resulting from the closures of schools and staggering unemployment rates.

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July 4th: Independence Day for ALL

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that the intrusion of the Coronavirus and the Black Lives Matter movement have been among the most prominent news events this year.

While the coronavirus’ impact is evident to everyone, the Black Lives Matter cause and the basis for its support might be less clear.

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Helping Those Who Help Everyone Else

While many businesses and institutions have suffered during this COVID pandemic, two stand out that have been especially hard-hit and are struggling to recover. One is food banks, which by their very nature and stated mission are critical institutions that have seen that mission grow in importance during these times. They spend their resources trying to do their part to eradicate food insecurity by ensuring that no one goes to bed hungry. Is there anyone who hasn't seen on television the long lines of people standing or in cars, waiting for help? It shouldn't go unnoticed that some of those recipients, when interviewed, admit they never before stood in a food line.

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Safety and Security Begin at Home

Your home is your castle. It is a much-repeated and strongly believed premise no matter the differences in what that “home” looks like or represents. The problem that we face, accentuated by the coronavirus’s punishing impact, is that many homeowners and renters face a grim challenge. Suddenly, and without warning, many New Jerseyans face the prospect of losing their homes because of failure to meet mortgage payments or outright eviction if they are renters.

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Economic Relief for New Jersey Workers

While having breakfast recently, I overheard one person saying to his companion, "Well, that's fine and good, but what is it that you do?" I don't recall the answer, but it prompted me to a new degree of self-reflection during our coronavirus pandemic.

One of the issues that have caused searing economic pain is the loss of income, causing financial disruption to families, especially to those in the lower or middle class. You may be asking what have I done, and what am I doing to help improve their economic condition during this present crisis?

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Unpacking

So much emotion has been running through my heart and mind over these last several days as we watch our nation react passionately to the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others whose names do not make the headlines. We have been forced to reckon with the manifestation of America’s original sin of slavery. Some may be uncomfortable with that correlation. However, the root of this discrimination lies within a society that allowed the enslaving of its fellow human beings solely based on the color of their skin. This uncomfortable truth must be acknowledged so that we can recognize that while the physical chains that bound black and brown people no longer exist, there are still systemic and psychological chains that hold a segment of our society down.

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