Category Archives: Featured Story: Justice

Voting Affects Policies That Affect You

By Annette Espinoza

The United States is undergoing dramatic economic, social and political change. With an African American President and a diverse set of nominees for the upcoming presidential election, it is evident that the U.S. is redefining history.

However, these changing times have not been resistant to injustice and discrimination. Our individual duty as United States citizens is ultimately to exercise our right to mold the social system our diverse communities need.

In the opening letter of the Voter Restoration Handbook, the Secretary of State, Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, expressed the following:

“Voting is one of the most precious rights we have as Americans. Of course, it was not always that way. Over time, many people in our nation fought – and some gave their lives – for the cause of equal voting rights for all individuals. That tells us something about the power of the vote. Like all hard won rights, voting is something we should not treat lightly. It is a right we should respect, and it is a right we should exercise.”

Across the state of New Jersey, we have able citizens with unique experiences and circumstance. Yet, a growing wealth gap and statistical evidence show a small voter turnout from minority and lower middle-class populations. With this, we can see and continue to expect the under-representation of this community and misrepresentation of the American public.

Here is what you can do about it.Barbershop by Herman Shorty Rose

As a citizen, you must register to vote before you can cast a ballot. According to the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, the registration the deadline for the Primar

y Election is 21 days before the official Election Day, which is set for Nov. 8, 2016.

The last four digits of your Social Security number or your New Jersey Driver’s License number are required for voter registration forms. If you do not possess either of these identifications, please write “NONE” on the form. According to MYMOVE online, the State will assign a number that will serve to identify you for voter registration purposes.

The following forms of identification will be accepted on the day that you cast your vote: driver’s license, student or job ID, military or other government ID, store membership ID or United States passport.

The American Liberties of N.J. states that you have the right to register at the address considered your primary address. If you are a college student, it can be a dorm, off-campus address or a home address. If you are experiencing homelessness, it can be a shelter, park or any place you usually stay (Section 6 Voter Registration)

Can someone register to vote if he or she has been charged with a crime, but not yet convicted?

Yes. According to the Voter Restoration Handbook, “any person who is a pre-trial detainee does not lose the right to vote while he or she is awaiting trial, even if the person is in jail. However, they cannot be serving a sentence, or on probation or parole as the result of a felony conviction. If this person is not in prison while his or her appeal is pending, he or she is eligible to register and vote.”

It is our civic responsibility to contribute to the nation that we are a part of. Voting and voicing your choice to elect who will be our representative is your most important duty as a U.S. citizen.

For more information on voting in the U.S., contact Voters Hotline at 1-800-792-VOTE.







“It is as simple as one wish.”

By Emery Gewirtz

A day at the movies, new clothes for school or your own laptop. These are simple things a lot of us take for granted. When you were growing up did you ever think of where your dollhouse came from or what it took to have that new videogame? A lot of the time, children in foster care do not have these simple pleasures.


According to the website of the National Foster Care Coalition, every year around 254,000 children enter foster care. The foundation One Simple Wish works hard to support children who are becoming a part of the system. One Simple Wish does not want these children to get lost in the shuffle; instead they work to help them be seen as individuals.


Danielle Gletow, who is a foster mother herself, founded the organization in 2008. She, along with many volunteers and donors, has helped over 35,000 children to date. In 2013, CNN named Gletow amongst their “Top 10 Heroes.”


Gletow’s goal is to have kids be kids. Sometimes even the most basic wishes are the most meaningful to a child. Gletow sees children as full of endless possibilities. They can all can be extraordinary if they are given the tools to explore, grow and find out who they are.


One Simple Wish is a village of people who care about children. There are multitudes of people who volunteer time, donate money and of course, grant wishes. Anyone can be a fairy godmother to these children by granting a wish.


"Bird House Series 4"  By Kathy Bird
“Bird House Series 4”
By Kathy Bird

The beautiful thing about this organization is that it shows people can care deeply about others they will never know. If you just ask for help, a lot of people will answer the call.


Sarah Dale, the Community Relations Manager, said, “It is a an incredible journey. People care about the little things that bring normalcy to their lives.”


From a personal standpoint, Dale said, “I have kids and I can’t imagine my kids walking through even a portion of what these kids walk through.” This is why she has worked hard with One Simple Wish to grant nearly 99 percent of all wishes.


“Some people can’t be foster parents, but I can give my time to support them and draw attention to who they are as people and not who they are as a statistic,” Dale attested.


One Simple Wish also goes beyond helping children in foster care; they make sure the children are cared for after they leave. According to the website of One Simple Wish, more than 20,000 children age out of foster care each year with little to no support. At age 18, these children have no family, no siblings, no relatives and no mentors to turn to.


This foundation is needed because these are the children in critical need for real attention. According to the organization’s website, “Children who age out of foster care are several times more likely to end up homeless, addicted to drugs or incarcerated.” Furthermore, the website states, it is estimated that more than 250,000 prisoners in the United States were once foster children. The average child in foster care remains in the system for more than two years, living away from their family, friends and familiar environments.


Over 8,500 wishes have been granted since the organization opened it’s doors.


“It takes a lot of effort and takes a lot of people coming together,” said Dale. “But it gets done.”


So sometimes, perhaps, it is as simple as one wish.


One Simple Wish 1977 North Olden Ave, #292 Trenton, N.J.  08618 Phone: (609) 883-8484 Email: Website:

From Sharing Stories to Saving Lives. Welcome to the A-TEAM.

“Art: something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.” — Online Merriam-Webster Dictionary


“Before letters and numbers, [art] was the original language,” said Roger Senski, a patron of the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. “And today, it is more than that — it is like a priceless currency.”

Art defines one of the most diverse fields of study and expression. This field has been synonymous with the course of history and transformation of culture. And, more and more frequently, art is becoming a vehicle for change in urban areas such as Trenton, N.J.

Nowhere is that more evident than the walls of the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) that are adorned with the work of the A-TEAM.

Sprouting from an art class offered by TASK in the late 1990’s, the A-TEAM became an independent entity in order to share and sell its work in the community. While the A-TEAM is still hosted and sup- ported by the soup kitchen, as a collective, the artists have continued to make their own unique impact within Trenton.

“Drawing kept me off the street and out of trouble and now I teach others how to do it too,” said one of the founders of the A-TEAM, Herman “Shorty” Rose.

Along with working with the A-TEAM at TASK, Rose also attends the monthly classes that the group facilitates at the ARC Mercer, an organization that helps people in need achieve their fullest potential through various instilled programs.

“It is not a contest. Everyone helps each other and everyone works together,” said Rose. “When young guys come in, I tell them, ‘Everyone can draw, just give it a shot and see what happens.’”

Senski, one of the team’s newer members, emphasized the significance artistry carries.

"Family" By Samantha Rivera
By Samantha Rivera

“It is important for the city,” Senski said. “Some people had college, I had art. Anyone who can paint, gives them a chance to be ahead of the economy.”

With over 11,000 households in the city earning less than $25,000 annually, reported by the U.S. Census’ 2008 American Community Survey, being ahead of the economy is a luxury that many in Trenton could benefit from.

With over 50 members participating in 20 events a year, the A- TEAM continues to make its mark in Trenton and it has garnered the praise from the highest powers in the country.

After a striking portrait of President Barack Obama was completed by the A-TEAM’s Walter Roberts Jr., the group decided to get the Commander-in-Chief’s thoughts on the piece and sent it to the White House. Roberts Jr. received a letter of commendation from the president for his impressive work. A letter that has been immortalized in one of Rose’s signature frames for visitors to admire.

“Whenever we get out, people ask, ‘Is the A-TEAM coming?’” said Rose. “They are happy. They bring their friends, and I say, ‘If you love what you do, keep doing it.’”





Trenton Area Soup Kitchen

Phone: 609-695-5456 72

Escher Street, Trenton, N.J. 08609


Article written by Raj Manimaran for the Fall 2014 edition of The Wall