Tackling the unprecedented levels of violence sweeping through many of New Jersey’s urban communities, a measure sponsored by Assembly Democrats Anthony Verrelli, Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (both D-Mercer, Hunterdon), and Shavonda Sumter (D-Bergen, Passaic) creating a 44-member commission to study the issue was approved 71-0-2 by the full Assembly on Monday, giving it final legislative approval.
The New Jersey State Commission on Urban Violence as established under the joint resolution (AJR-189) would consist of State and local officials as well as representatives spanning law enforcement, professional organizations, academia, labor, and faith-based and church-centered associations. Recommendations, after its 18-month study on the sources, causes and the means of alleviating urban violence, would be reported to the Legislature and the Governor.
Sponsors of the measure released the following statements:
Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli (D-Mercer, Hunterdon): “For the sake of the 9 million New Jersey residents living in urban areas, more than 90 percent of our population, the violence must stop. They deserve and are entitled to safe neighborhoods without the concern of what harm tomorrow could bring. This commission gets us a step closer to greater social equality and peace for people across the State.”
Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Mercer, Hunterdon): “Fully and successfully addressing the sources and causes of urban violence happening within our communities requires an understanding of the issue from a New Jersey perspective. Simply put – fear, violence and the tragedy that follows cannot continue to be the narrative for families and people living in any community.”
Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (D-Mercer, Hunterdon): “Understanding the impact of violence and its lasting traumatic effects are critical to achieve healing and safety for our families in New Jersey.”
The measure now heads to the Governor’s desk.