Kickoff Speech

WHY

KADJA? 

It's vital that we, as leaders and potential leaders, elevate what's important to the people that support us. We must elect leaders that can work together. We must choose leaders that put people and policy over politics. Trenton must elect ME. 

I will put the needs of the people before all else. A vote for me is a vote for YOU

"Right now,  I wish I could travel back in time and show that poor little black boy sitting on the stoop of the 400 block on Stuyvesant Avenue that one day all these people would show up and believe in him to run for Trenton city council. Thank you for believing in him, thank you for believing in me, thank you for believing in the future of Trenton.

A future with less violence, and more peace. A future with less adversity, and more hope.

Trenton has suffered enough from the burden of politicians gatekeeping for decades–the type of politics that divide us, tell us things aren’t possible, but when I look out and see all of you, I know that you believe we are strongest when we lift up our own. When the folks that represent the people, are the people. Those of us who were born and raised here. Those of us that want to invest in the community that made us who we are.

It's vital that we, as leaders and potential leaders, elevate what's important to the people that support us. We must elect leaders that can work together. We must choose leaders that put people and policy over politics. 

The violence that continues to spiral in our city is what motivated me to become a public servant upon completion of my military service. We have a chance to do something great and something new here in the City of Trenton. Hear me out for a second.  If we're going to change Trenton and make it work for all of its citizens regardless of race, age, sex, gender, socioeconomic status, and religion to be successful as a city over the long haul. 

 Our emphasis MUST be to invest in our young people. Not just in education, but in every area that encourages and supports their growth and development, and provides them with opportunities to be engaged in the ongoing growth of their city. 

We are at a critical time in the history of this city. We need council members who work together and have the ability to work with a mayor instead of suing each other every time they disagree.  Let’s go back to the old way of doing politics, where we actually talked through ideas and worked together to improve the experiences of our residents.

I come from a large blended family, and I'm the oldest of 14 awesome siblings–yes, there was a lot of us growing up. Trust me, with 14 siblings, I know conflict and I know how to resolve it.

I stand here today proud of my African-American and Puerto Rican Heritage. Growing up and being the oldest sibling taught me a lot. I was born at what used to be Mercer Hospital that was located on Bellevue Avenue. 

My mom, a strong black woman who worked a full-time job, still extended herself and was always there for our family on both sides.

At any time and for any reason where someone needed housing, my parents always stepped up. Cousins, aunts, uncles, sometimes even a few families lived with us in a small three-bedroom home. These people are family and we did what we had to do and we always made it work.

From Kingsbury Towers to South Broad Street in Chambersburg, from Hamilton Avenue in South Trenton to where I live currently on West State Street with my partner Tom,  I have lived and had family live in nearly every corner of our city. 

And today, as we stand here in Trenton’s North Ward, it reminds me of one of my last Army Units. The 509th Signal Battalion which is located in Vicenza Italy  Our unit slogan or motto reminds me a lot of this neighborhood and in the grander scheme of things, it reminds me of Trenton.

 Facemus Fortes. It can be translated into many definitions now as it is Latin. To us, it defined the unit as a unit that was small but mighty. It can also be translated to we are strong and that’s also true of Trentonians. 

Trentonians are resilient, strong people that build up this small but mighty community.  Let’s face it, you can throw a rock and it’ll hit anyone who has a story.  But you won’t throw a rock within the current political establishment and have it hit someone with a story like ours. 

Trenton has tremendous potential, but Trenton also has significant hurdles to cross. I believe that while this task isn't an easy one, it is attainable. 

To accomplish such a job, we need new leadership — a leadership that exudes energy, dedication, and a brand new vision. We need leaders that care about our city and its future.  I am that leader.

I am running for Trenton City Council to transform our city's approach to crime reduction,  moving us from being focused solely on law enforcement to a comprehensive and holistic approach to public safety- One that centers on public health, and rehabilitation … so that my brother Tre, who lives with Autism doesn't have to worry about what’s going to happen to him/ if he’s pulled over while driving a motor vehicle.

As Councilman, I will introduce concrete and measurable initiatives aimed at restoring faith between the city and its leaders. 

"OUR CAMPAIGN IS ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER AND DEFEATING THE STATUS QUO” From this moment on, let’s not call it a campaign. This is a people-powered movement! 

Trentonians deserve to be represented by everyday Trentonians who understand what it’s like to wait in the rain, hail, sleet, and snow to catch a bus with fare that’s constantly rising,  only to arrive late to work and potentially be reprimanded. 

Leaders who understand that our parks and recreations department matters-Leaders who wouldn’t turn away 5 million dollars! Money that’s supposed to repair our roads, and give our children safe and secure places to play. 

The most important thing to do here is to acknowledge that “there is no true success without service”- and that’s at all levels of service.  And the second thing is  "You don’t get in life what you want.  You get in life what you are intentional about." 

I was intentional upon returning home from service to return back to a town that has given me so much!  And even before that, being the oldest of 14 children, I understood what it meant to look out for my brothers and sisters in times of need. 

This is the underlying theme that has stayed with me my entire life and it’s coincidentally one of the Army’s values-selfless service. Selfless service is what kept me going while serving as my units Finance Officer and Human Resources Officer while serving overseas tours and missing out on birthdays, holidays, and family traditions. Most importantly selfless service is what brought me back home to Trenton.

Where I currently work at the Trenton Health Team, as an outreach leader, working tirelessly with health care providers ensuring that Trenonians have equitable healthcare. And where I currently work at Garden State Equality the state’s largest LGBTQ education and advocacy organization that fights every day to ensure that our children don’t get bullied in school.

Trenton is where I was duly elected to serve as the 3rd Vice President of the Trenton Branch NAACP where I advocated on civil rights issues across Mercer County! 

I am a man of service and I am a son of Trenton!

And this son of Trenton is announcing today his candidacy for the City of Trenton’s 2022 Municipal election. 

So for every parent who has worried about their child being a victim of gun violence–

For every resident fed up with the constant fighting taking place on city council–

For every older adult frustrated with our city services

For the little black boy on the 400 block of Stuyvesant Avenue...

Let us come together to build a brighter future for Trenton,  with more of what makes our city great,  and less of what doesn’t. Please support me for Trenton City Council!

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