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  • Writer's pictureKaren Brittingham-Edmond

Marching In 2023 With Civic Engagement Regarding N.J.'s Wealth Disparity Gap Task Force Visit 12/22


Today's chat is a strong cup of coffee!

The relaunched Echo had the extreme pleasure of reporting on a meeting held by the Wealth Disparity Gap Task Force on December 12, 2022, at the Second Baptist Church at 124 Atkins Ave, Asbury Park, N.J. The group discussion was led by The Wealth Disparity Task Force Director Jayne' J. Johnson. Who was accompanied by Kermina Hanna, a program analyst for the N.J. Department of Policy and Program Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging| Policy Office - of the Governor. As well as Cuqui Rivera of the Latino Action Network.

Wealth Disparity Task Force Director Jayne' J. Johnson

Johnson shared that attendees should encourage all community members who have identified an ongoing issue and know how to resolve it to visit the Wealth Disparity Gap Task Force site to share their input on closing it here in N.J. The idea is to get a complete picture of economic inequality, its extent, causes, and possible solutions to resolve long-term discrepancies and unresolved discriminatory policies affecting some N.J. citizens.

Jean-Pierre Brutus, Senior Counsel with the New Jersey Institute For Social Justice


Why do we need the wealth disparity gap for Black citizens closed?

White citizens are far wealthier than Black citizens in N.J., thanks to chattel slavery. Black citizens also trail behind their Latino neighbors. Hence, this report will primarily focus on the Black citizen dilemma. Per an article in WHYY.Org PBS written by Tennyson Donyea titled "As NJ Examines Wealth Disparities, Advocates Say Reparations Should Be On The Table," September 2, 2022. "Jean-Pierre Brutus, senior counsel with the New Jersey Institute For Social Justice, said he's followed the task force since the Murphy administration announced it. The institute has also backed a separate task force introduced by lawmakers in 2019 that calls for a statewide study of reparations over slavery here in N.J." https://whyy.org/articles/new-jersey-wealth-disparity-task-force-reparations/

Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (D-Passaic)

Donyea's article further shared that "The measure, reintroduced by Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (D-Passaic) in January, has yet to receive a committee hearing, despite elected leaders' promises to reckon with race in meaningful ways since the nationwide unrest that followed the murder of George Floyd in 2020, "The Wealth Disparity Task Force is important and welcomed," Brutus said. "But it's not a replacement for a focused study of slavery and the lasting impact upon majority Black residents, which is what a reparations task force would do." https://whyy.org/articles/new-jersey-has-struggled-for-centuries-to-talk-about-reparations-can-that-change-in-2022/


Two statements the relaunched Echo could not agree with more. So in the spirit of civic engagement, I, Karen Brittingham-Edmond of Echo News TV LLC, submitted several suggestions to the N.J. Department of Wealth Disparity Gap Task Force. And in a spirit of transparency, I share my response because, all too often, because of the traumas brought upon Black citizens via structural racism in influential places. Plus, the reality is that:

  • Many Black citizens are stressed out or too traumatized to speak up for themselves.

  • And because of the daily hassles Black citizens cope with, a melancholy of "don't care ism " occurs."

Input from Black citizens lacks submission. Or the concept that Black citizens submitted for the well-being of the disenfranchised, long-term discriminated Black citizen population. It is either formulated to assist all minority groups, which typically leaves Black citizens' economic issues unanswered and unresolved. Or made to look like a different person or population submitted said concept. Again, this is a deterrent to addressing crisis issues because Black citizens do not get credit for the ideas they give birth to and activate. Example: A Black woman founded "Project Hope" in Long Branch, N.J., to save "The Bucky James Community Center from being turned into a parking lot. And "Fun Day," an event celebrated by most school systems in N.J. for 50 years, was launched by a 6th-grade Black girl. N.J. excludes said person's identity simply because they were a Black citizen.

The NJ Wealth Disparity Gap Task Force has requested that all citizens and residents share their opinions regarding wealth disparity issues in N.J. Civic engagement has always been a skill set that Black citizens utilized to dismantle unique issues that target and disenfranchise Black families. Responding directly to requests can assist with blocking narratives from other persons who claim to speak on behalf of Black citizens. But don't. For example, Beyonce Carter is a well-known and loved music celebrity. And Professor Cornell West of Princeton University is an American philosopher, political activist, social critic, and actor. Both have passionately, since the early 2000s, advocated for LBGTQ rights and advancements along with Oprah Winfrey. These three Black celebrities, for example, have moved mountains for gay rights. And they have been rewarded for their outstanding work. But the causation of what they deem personally necessary and rewarding sends a false positive message to onlookers, including the Black public.


Unfortunately, when non-Black American society sees Beyonce, Oprah Winfrey, or Professor Cornell West representing a cause, they immediately assume that what they, Carter, Winfrey, and West, advocate for must be a primary concern of Black citizenship. Plus will advance Black citizenship as a whole. When it doesn't. Because most LBGTQ participants are primarily White males, and that's ok. But that will not help the Black family forced into homelessness due to Jim Crow methodologies being utilized with housing here in N.J. Nor will their advocacy for LBGTQ marriage rights prevent the abuses that Black citizen children once made homeless, thanks to the Jim Crow policies utilized by N.J. landlords and N.J.'s HUD offices to block Black citizens from housing or home ownership.

Why are Black citizens dealing with Jim Crow confederate policies in N.J.?

In order to remove or diminish the Black citizens' population from an area where they have been the minority-majority. All the above-mentioned influential Black representatives' work and uplifting of LBGTQ wants and rights will not diminish the trauma that Black children will likely be subjected to regarding being placed in a foster care system. Because Black citizens are systematically being blocked from having long-term homes in the area where their genealogy comes from - Worse yet, N.J.'s children's services often seek to place Black children outside of their immediate family members just like the state did with Black citizens' east-coast native American relatives between 1890 to 1950. Not putting children with their immediate family members, such as grandparents, aunts, and uncles, who may be doing well and still reside in the original areas or homestead, assists with diminishing the overall population in said area by design. Why? Because said Black children's original homes will become foreign to them because they grew up elsewhere. And children, once grown, will likely not relocate to where they came from. Or economic pricing for housing will block them from re-entering the area. Everything happens for a reason.

Link shares how White adoptive parents murdered six Black children placed in their care. https://www.metroweekly.com/2019/04/lesbian-mothers-killed-their-six-adopted-children-in-murder-suicide-inquest-finds/

Nor will Carter, Cornell, or Winfrey's advocacy for the LBGTQ community will assist with the much-needed after-school enrichment programs that give Black children an alternative to the streets. Nor will LBGTQ rights provide the removal of racist police officers who over police Black citizens and neighborhoods, such as in the case of Tyre Nichols. It's not. And even Beyonce, Oprah, and Professor West know this. The truth is that for Beyonce and Professor Cornell West, advancing LBGTQ rights is their passion and their unique calling. But their advocacy for that particular newly coined minority group of primarily White males doesn't help provide consistent quality homes, quality lawyers, better-paying jobs, or protections for Black citizen families with children.


Nor will all the advocating of Van Jones, a Black professional American news and political commentator, author, and lawyer, for Mexican and Latino cause. However, Van Jones is given multiple millions of dollars by Elon Musk to aid and protect Elon Musk's new workforce, plus supports "dreamers," the children of undocumented immigrants brought to America. All of Van Jones's money, influence, legal aid, plus boisterous uplifting of Latino or Brown people's rights will not stop a Black teenager placed in prison from being brutalized in jail while waiting for their court date. But just like in Beyonce's, Winfrey, and Professor Cornell West's cases. Again, Van Jones's advocacy implies that Latino or Brown people's advancement is a crisis concern for Black citizens. And that moving Black citizens out of the area to make room for the new economy residents, businesses, and children is an issue that Black citizens want and deem important. But once again, nothing could be further from the truth. And with all the advancements, political influence, and advocacy Van Jones has made for the Latinos, documented or undocumented, it isn't helping Black citizens and their children. This is why Black citizens must speak up for themselves as Black citizens unashamedly like their ancestors did during much tougher times.


When you, as a Black citizen, can express your advocacy and ideas, plus escape plan for your people. You can prevent the political forest fire set up to steal, kill, and destroy your people's posterity. Just like W.E.B. Dubois and the Niagara Falls Movement that launched the National Advancement of Color People. (On a side note, Black citizens were called Negros and then Colored people, Afro-Americans, and later Black, for your information.) As well as with Frederick Douglas, Madame C.J. Walker, Marcus Garvey, Thurgood Marshall, and many other Black citizens made a way because they had an idea that could make a difference for their long-suffering stolen from people. And they acted on that idea and made a world of difference. And you can too!

Smokey, The Bear. "Only you can stop forest fires!"


Black citizens must participate by speaking up for themselves and telling the truth. And not to assume that the causes mainstream America deem essential represent Black America's well-being. Because mainstream America, non-Black minority groups, and paid volunteer Black advocates lack the ability to do right for Black citizens. (It is not in them.) Nor do they have the ability to want the best for Black children. And unless Black America does not start wanting the best for their people and their people's children. Plus blatantly voice their demands to the state and lawmakers. We will witness reparations plus further resources paid for by Black citizen tax dollars, such as unemployment, for example, being given to anybody but Black New Jerseyans. Just ask any Black person who attempted to obtain unemployment benefits during COVID; Below are a few brief suggestions I submitted to the Wealth Disparity Gap Task Force online submission link https://nj.gov/governor/admin/equity/wdtf.shtml Dec 19, 2022.

Karen Brittingham-Edmond Relaunched Echo News TV LLC Editor-Publisher

  1. Provide all Afro-American citizens who are the direct descendants of Chattel Slavery survivors with whom said citizen resides in N.J., located in North America. Or Afro-American citizens who are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans in North America, admixed with 1st Nation North American indigenous population who reside in N.J. in North America. As well as Afro-Americans admixed with Asian or Western Europeans with whom before mentioned, Afro-Americans are direct descendent of Africans enslaved per chattel slavery here in North America. Who are N.J. citizens should receive a reflective value of reparations for $540,000.00 each, which provides the equivalent value of 40 acres of southern land, who are said before mentioned ancestors surviving relatives.

  2. New Jersey is home to 14 of the 20 largest pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. The New Jersey pharmaceutical industry generates over $120.9 billion in revenue annually, with 63,415 job categories directly linked to the industry. That means Black citizens' children in high school should graduate as certified clinical research associates and LPNs licenses because our state represents the majority of pharmaceuticals in America. There is no excuse for not investing in the school system to ensure that Black students graduate with clinical research coordinating certificates and LPN licenses upon graduating high school. Plus, placement in one of N.J.'s many pharmaceutical companies. Instead of graduating high school with a nurses aide or food service certificate as usual. Why? Because New Jersey's pharmaceutical and nursing jobs can no longer be outsourced by design to outside nations or immigrant populations coming to New Jersey. New Jersey policymakers ensured for the last 50 years that the state primarily gave documented or undocumented immigrants training and opportunities. By purposely doing so, NJ has seditiously plus strategically blocked the advancement of Black citizens by providing training plus quality job opportunities to insource workers rather than to America's long-term, discriminated, and seditiously attacked Black citizenship.

  3. Fully fund the relaunching of The Echo, NJ's oldest Black-owned Newspaper est 1904. Funding to relaunch The Echo, NJ's oldest Black-owned newspaper, with both an online presence and weekly hard copy presence, can assist with closing the wealth disparity gap in NJ. Re-establishing Echo, which is now under the Echo News TV brand, can provide urgently needed culturally sensitive communication and truth-telling to keep the disenfranchised populations in the loop of information plus resources. White media has proven that they cannot relate or communicate with distinction to people of color readers, and the Echo could successfully engage with Black readers as in the past. Because we are not vulnerable to implicit or explicit bias toward African Americans, this effort will heal and empower Black citizens because they will have a culturally and historically empathetic resource and relatable resource so that the healing can begin.

  4. Another way to close the wealth disparity gap in N.J. is by ensuring citizens have full access to unemployment and temporary disability resources. That includes returning open access to the unemployment office and speaking to a human representative paid by citizens' tax dollars. And for the state to not hire or immediately fire people who think it is their job to block citizenship of their resources because they are biased toward American citizens, which is seditious. And to remove all unemployment department/disability department employees who have a record of purposely discriminating or blocking citizens eligible for benefits. Instead of the shell game played by the unemployment department currently in lew with new economy propaganda.

  5. Prison reform; the American prison system is positively archaic per various studies on prisons worldwide. Per studies, prison populations worldwide decreased in areas where rehabilitative services are offered in various methods to incarcerated individuals. Plus, there is a focus on wellness instead of degradation. Unfortunately, American prison systems routinely follow a chattel slavery mentality ethos. Per Mitchell Alexanders' book "The New Jim Crow," and Dr. Joy Leary's Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome." America's prison system is designed to put Black males and females in prison to reinstitute the standard of slavery & free labor and make sure said Black citizen's power to vote was scrapped. Knowing these facts alone should move:

  • Local

  • State and

  • Federal governments

To mandate humane standards for all prisons as outlined below.

Per experts in prison reform from other countries, each prisoner needs a room that provides privacy, safety, and comfort. Such an environment offers a measure of wellness that helps to advance inmates' rehabilitation. Open prisons are standard in countries outside of America. And they are very successful.

First, all prisoners need to have their own living space that includes a

  • Private bathroom and shower

  • Furniture (that inspires safety and wellness)

  • Media system that provides for basic TV with zoom

    • Vocational training

    • Higher education

    • Home communications

    • Therapy

    • Exercise

Providing these simple resources would help reduce the

  • Violent outbursts,

  • Rapes, and

  • Bullying tack ticks of

Non-professional racist guards and mentally ill inmates. Additionally, America should utilize Sweden's open jail concept for all incarcerated individuals for a non-violent crime or fine. Per the open jail concept, prisoners are allowed to provide for their families. In other words, they can leave the compound and work at their job without losing it and support their families. At the same time, living under minimal supervision and a perimeter security compound. While having access to private bathrooms, showers, and a living area. Why? Because people who bounce checks, can't pay a fine, or owe on unpaid tickets aren't bank robbers or federal lawbreakers.

Police reform is a must, and so is prison reform. And for both to be effectively changed for the better, Americans must come clean and make all prisons a proper place to rehabilitate. And not a treasonous plan to recreate chattel slavery in the 21st century.


Thanks for reading; keep marching and making good trouble.


The Echo "In Concern Of The Negro" Since 1904






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