PATERSON, NJ- When Paterson 8th grad student Gavin Burton had a chance to lead an effort get his school more active in the community he organized a walk for he and his classmates to the Paterson Public Library.
His goal, he told TAPinto Paterson as they walked down Broadway, was to show his classmates “what the library has to offer,” and more importantly, “to feel safe going there.”
Unfortunately, Burton lamented, “students sometime feel scared or intimidated” walking to the library because of “some of the issues that surround it.”
On Tuesday, perhaps lending credence to some of the student’s concerns, a dead body was found behind Broadway Fried Chicken, directly across the street from the library.
According to law enforcement sources, while the cause of death remains under investigation by the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, indications are the male victim succumbed to a drug overdose.
The news didn’t surprise local activist Akbar McEntyre who spends every Sunday preparing and distributing several hundred hot dinners from the adjacent BP gas station parking lot to area residents. The effort is part of Humble Beginnings’ mission of “providing a holistic approach to empowering members of the community to solve their own problems through collective efforts,” and has provided nearly 65,000 meals in Paterson.
A social worker by education and trade, McEntyre, learning of the discovery, said that their services are “just a portion of what needs to be available in the community.”
“The entire city has issues such as this, in all areas.”
Bob Connell, a 20-year resident of the Fourth Ward walked by the scene on Tuesday and shared his thoughts that the death is another indicator that the area he lives in has changed “dramatically, and not for the better.” Walking dead
“If we are going to make Paterson better, and we can,” Connell said with a hint of hope in his voice despite what he called the large number of “walking dead” drug users and prostitutes, “we need to start right here.”