Arts & Entertainment

Montclair NAACP Youth Council Host Town Hall Meeting to Address Youth Concerns


MONTCLAIR, NJ - On August 16, youth from the Montclair chapter of the NAACP held a town hall meeting at the Wally Choice Community Center.

The chair for the evening, Adarian Sneed gave the welcoming address and had the panel of participants introduce themselves. 

Panelists  for the evening included Noah Blake (MAAHF scholarship recipient 2017),  Olivia Chipepo (treasurer), Aja Bussey  (Youth Council President), Sneed, Alissa Brown (1st Vice President ), Integra Feliciano (Montclair State Chapter) and Mechi Brown (President Montclair State Chapter).

Sign Up for E-News

James E.Harris, Education chair for the Montclair NAACP, facilitated the event. He said, "If we (adults) intend to have youth involved, we must provide leadership, mentor[ship] and educat[ion]."

He added, "Each chapter of the NAACP is encouraged to have a youth council and where possible a partnership with a college chapter, Montclair is one of only a few in the state of NJ that has a youth council supported by both." 

The overall topic for the evening was communication. It was expressed that communication needs to be better in getting information to young people, especially within the school setting. Panelists suggested that it could be stronger especially on social media. Since so much occurs during the course of a day, the recommendation was to put information out to where it will have a mass reach.

Topics of discussion for the night included, student and police interaction, how to chose courses wisely, volunteer opportunities, college prep earlier than 11th grade, job listings and so many other issues that are of importance to youth and their families. It was repeatedly mentioned that he key is how to make sure that information is accessible and easily available and understandable.

Sneed then asked, What are the solutions to some of these issues?" 

In regard to police interaction, students felt that in the present climate for youth, especially those of color, have a fear and disrespect for police.  

Brown suggested, "We need to establish a liaison between the police and youth."

Chipepo added that establishing a program that provides for sincere interaction, discussion and education, would  possibly assure youth that the police are not out to get them, but are there to protect, aide and assist where and when needed.  

Detective Kim Nelson-Edwards was in attendance. She mentioned the importance that police officers come from the community in which they serve since the universal feeling is that they are connected to the neighborhoods and outreach can be more effective.

Newly installed police offer Shaun Green shared his story of growing up in Montclair and growing up in the 4th ward.  

He said, "Being from Montclair, I know the town and I know the people. When I went to college, I was not sure what I wanted to do, but I had people in my life who I could look up to like my uncle, Wilhelm Young and Roger Terry."

Young and retired Police Deputy Chief and former Deputy Mayor Roger Terry, were among the attendees expressing support and commitment in addressing the panels concerns. Young and Nelson-Edwards stated that creating programs and actively working with Montclair youth is essential in keeping them and their communities safe and aware.

Questions and exchanges from the panel and those in attendance, overlapped into other areas such as education and diversity.

Others in the audience included Brian Scantlebury (Township of Montclair), Naomi Kirkman (Bradford Elementary school Principal), Gaye Overby (Headstart), Roselyn Terry ( Montclair Head Start), Nicole Watson (Community outreach, Essex County Proscuters Office), Joe Kavesh (Montclair Board of Education), were among notable attendees.

Manyattendees expressed awe at the impressive way the panelists handled themselves and expressed a commitment to help bridge those communication gaps that fall short in assisting young people in learning essential life skills, understanding voter registration and how the government works beyond.

A discussion about voting and voter education ensued. Blake shared his story on voting saying, "I did not know about absentee ballots. When I finally picked one up, it was too late."

In sharing their concerns, it was made mention by many in the audience that the youth voices are important and that they can be a part of making a change in addressing many of the issues raised.

When the topic of libraries and updating technology came up. Brown added, "Information is available, we all know how to Google. We don't try to educate ourselves, [but] we must love to learn and take accountabilies."

Albert Pelham, President of the NAACP Montclair Chapter, had this to say, "In watching the panelists, I see young leaders that show a long term commitment and who have passion."

He also echoed many of the other attendees, giving advice on the importance of the power of their collective voices.

Shakira Pelham then shared her story of attending Montclair High School when a situation came up involving teachers. She spoke of the students who stood up and made their voices heard.  

Nelson-Edwards spoke of supporting youth, adding that parents should advocate and support their children in their efforts to understand and navigate the mentioned concerns touched upon that night. 

For youth interested in participating in the NAACP youth council, they meets on Saturday mornings at 11am at the Montclair Public Library. The meetings are open to the public.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Former Jefferson School Staffer Facing Criminal Charges For Alleged Lewd Photos of Students

June 21, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - A former Jefferson Elementary School paraprofessional has been charged with criminal behavior believed to be related to lewd photos of students at the school that were found on his cell phone after he was arrested in Morris County on an unrelated sexual charge.

It also appears that South Orange Maplewood School District officials knew about the arrests as early as ...

NJ Native and Children Shot in Colorado Road Rage Incident: Child Dies

June 22, 2018

WESTMINSTER, COLORADO: A native of Colts Neck, NJ and her children were attacked in a road rage shooting that left her 13 year old son dead and both her and another child injured. A third child was able to run to safety.

Jeremy Webster, 23, was charged with first degree murder, extreme indifference; three counts of attempted first-degree murder; three counts of first-degree assault ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center, Little Falls

Yogi Berra Museum Summer Softball Camp

Education Health & Wellness Sports

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Summer Nature Day Camps at Scherman ...

Education Green

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center, Little Falls

Yogi Berra Museum Summer Softball Camp

Montclair Police Blotter: Thai Chef Burglarized, Four iPhones Stolen and More

June 13, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ -  The following police blotter was compiled by the Montclair Police Department on June 12, 2018:


06-05-2018 (Union Street) Burglary to an apartment.  Cash was taken in this incident.  Access was gained through an unlocked rear door.  

06-05-2018 (Union Street) Theft of a scooter from the rear yard of a residence.

06-05-2018 (Elm ...

'Half Time' delivers with sterling cast

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other talents.

The musical centers on an effort to have seniors perform a dance number during ...

'Half Time' lights up Paper Mill stage

‘Half Time’ turns the tables on aging in gleeful production

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other ...

Borders with a Heart

June 25, 2018

PRESS RELEASE                                       ...