City of Rahway launches social justice commission to combat injustice
A Union County city has launched a new social justice commission in an effort to combat social injustice.
“We have to make sure that we actually put some momentum and passion to action,” says co-chair Jeff Brooks.
The project to create the Rahway Social Justice Mission has been in the works since the summer of 2019.
“It wasn’t in response to what happened with George Floyd. It wasn’t in response to Black Lives Matter protests. It was really, kind of the agenda of the city council and myself moving forward to make sure that we truly live by what we believe in – and that’s that diversity is our biggest strength,” says Rahway Mayor Ray Giacobbe.
Giacobbe is part of the U.S. Social Justice Commission under the U.S. Conference of Mayors. It started as an idea thrown around by the mayors and was set to start earlier this year, but the plans were delayed because of the pandemic. It is committed to creating a social justice dialogue within the city.
“The No. 1 issue is employment. We really want to make sure that we’re providing opportunities for everyone within the community, to at least have some sort of bit of security. To great generational wealth,” says co-chair Brittany Hale.
The commission held its first of many meetings on Sept. 8 via Zoom. The meetings will be virtual for the foreseeable future.
Rahway resident Kyle McCaskill says that he hopes that other, less-diverse towns, follow suit.
“This area is very diverse, but the state as a whole is not,” he says. “I hope other parts of New Jersey will take the lead of the city.”
“Hopefully we are a good example of what can be done nationwide,” says Brooks. “I would love to see social justice commissions pop up in every single city in Union County and statewide.”
The commission plans to hold its public meetings on the second Wednesday of every month at 8 p.m.