There are many unsung heroes on the front lines battling the Covid-19 pandemic in Jersey City and the rest of Hudson County. Much has been written about the healthcare workers who have been risking their lives on a daily basis to battle the coronavirus. But there’s another line of defense laboring mostly in civilian garb out of the limelight, providing equally valuable public service as paid staff and volunteers.
With a little help from their friends in the community, Jersey City nonprofits continue to provide services to local residents impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Friday, April 10, former Jersey City police officer and Ward F Councilwoman Viola Richardson passed away from Covid-19 complications. She was 74. As the city mourns her passing, friends and colleagues are posting tributes to her on social media that speak of her activism, resilience and devotion to her community.
This past weekend, Yun, 65, lost his battle with Covid-19, testing positive for the virus on March 29 and passing away on April 6. His Jersey City constituents and City Hall colleagues were shocked and saddened by the news, remembering him as affable, compassionate and a staunch advocate for Jersey City.
When Jersey City resident Pamela Johnson was in her 20’s, a spray of gunfire lodged three bullets in her stomach and torso. Undeterred, Johnson healed, put herself through college, earning bachelor and master’s degrees, and turned a page.
The streets were clean, there was one cop for every 300 people, and public transportation could get you anywhere you needed to go. “There was no sense of anybody being an outsider,” he said. “We considered the rest of the world, especially New Yorkers, to be creatures from a different galaxy.”
“The buzzard up there is the real estate developers,” Olsen explains. “And the skeletons, they died from neglect and the quality (of life). The cemetery is full of all the things we’ve lost, like the buses, the supermarket. We’re in a desert, and the flames are … the neighborhood is burning.”
The same could be said of Novado Gallery’s local impact. Like other Jersey City gallerists, Novado (along with business partner Steve Pearlman) wanted to create a dedicated space for art shows as opposed to a café or hair salon that also happened to exhibit art. Business owners and real estate developers often persuade artists to hang works in their spaces for “exposure,” adding much-needed decor to their ventures for free, This bartering was exactly what Anne didn’t want to see. After all, “does a lawyer set up a booth for free advice just for exposure?” she asks.
“This marks an exciting new chapter for the Jersey City Free Public Library,” said Curt Harris, the library’s board president. “The case for Jeffrey’s candidacy [is] quite compelling because he is truly invested in social equity and diversity and inclusion issues in all areas rather than paying mere lip service.”