NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Bullets and bloodshed in the city and nearby communities this summer have spurred activists and local leaders into action.
An “emergency” community meeting to attempt to solve the problem is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. tonight, Aug. 17, at the Progressive Lodge, in the second-floor Masonic temple, 186 Hale St. All residents are encouraged to attend and voice their concerns, according to officials and activists.
New Brunswick City Council President Glen Fleming plans to hold court during the meeting. He pitched its importance yesterday at City Hall.
“One meeting is not going to stop everything,” he said, “but at least we can begin the healing. At least we can come up with solutions.”
Franklin's own, Councilwoman At-Large Shanel Robinson (D) will also be on hand.
Tormel Pittman, a well-known community activist, organized the meeting. After first announcing it early this week, he has released a steady stream of updates and pleas for participation, drawing interest from people in New Brunswick and beyond.
The forum comes shortly after the shooting death of an 18-year-old woman in the Somerset section of Franklin. Her alleged killer, another 18-year-old, fled to New Brunswick before being arrested, police said.
In July, city cops charged a 25-year-old man with murder after he allegedly shot and killed a woman near Livingston and Joyce Kilmer avenues.
But violence in and around New Brunswick didn't start there. Indeed, a stroll through the police section of TAPinto New Brunswick and surrounding towns turns up stories on a number of attacks and robberies, some involving guns or other weapons.
The same is true of surrounding communities, where murders and other incidents have made grim headlines in recent months.
Fleming said this sort of “senseless violence” is a problem across the country. The schoolteacher noted that two of his students, in an out-of-town district, were killed during the past academic year.
Pittman, the vocal activist, said in one Facebook video that it's time to not just mourn or discuss the issue—but to begin to craft a plan to forge a better tomorrow. He urged residents to also bring young people, who often have the most to lose at the hands of violence.