Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Joy of Giving

How important is it to give back?  To a cause...or to your community? And to simply try to make a better world?

We have heard over and over again that it is more blessed to give than to receive and for many who give to charity it becomes a useful write off at tax time. But, there are other real and tangible benefits to giving that can be felt rather than seen.

Studies have shown that there are instant health benefits to helping others, the simple act of giving up your seat on the bus, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or helping an elderly neighbor can give a big boost to your health. Being of service to others without expecting something in return is good for your spirit and your soul.

With selfless service often comes the volunteer's version of the runner's high. For many people, performing charitable acts, volunteering or even simply writing a check to support a good cause can trigger the release of the feel-good hormone oxytocin into the bloodstream. The results? A naturally-induced reduction in anxiety levels, less stress-triggered cortisol circulating throughout the body and generally more positive feelings.
So giving not only makes you feel good mentally, but tangibly contributes to your overall health and well-being. But, there are still other benefits of giving.

Every time we help someone less fortunate than ourselves, or volunteer at a community event, or mentor a child, or give to a cause we are making this world a better place, we are creating a better space for our children to inherit. 

There is a joy in knowing that with each contribution we make whether of our time, our knowledge, or our money we are building a stronger community.

Plainfield, we cannot be as strong as we want to be as long as there is even one person in need among us…as long as there are children whose parents may not have the financial means to send them to school…as long as there are elderly people who cannot help themselves and have no means to afford help…as long as there are those who have nowhere to live. As long as need exists around us, we cannot stop giving, we cannot stop volunteering, and we cannot close our hearts.

The time for giving is now—not tomorrow, not at Christmas—but now. We may not be able to give financially, but time and knowledge are priceless things to give to someone. There has never been a better time to kick start your way into a healthier life by giving, than now.

Plainfield...won't you join me? Let's make a pledge as we continue to build and grow our community that we will give, we will help, we will experience the joy this brings... together, and we'll leave this world a better place than we found it.

Creating One Plainfield - One Future,

Mayor Adrian O. Mapp
City of Plainfield

Friday, August 19, 2016

Saturday, August 20: 9th Annual Plainfield Community Barbecue!

The First Lady and I invite you to our 9th Annual Community BBQ tomorrow, Saturday, August 20, 2016, from 4:00 pm until midnight, at our home located at 535 West 8th Street, Plainfield, NJ. As always, the BBQ is open to the entire Plainfield community. 

This year, however, there is an admission cost: Canned/non-perishable food items, as well as toiletries, for donation to our neediest Plainfielders.*

We look forward to seeing all of Plainfield to celebrate this wonderful summer with you. A good time awaits one and all--constituents, neighbors, family, and friends.  

*If you are unable to attend this year's barbecue, please drop off your items on our front porch at 535 West 8th Street, right here in Plainfield.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Immigration Reform: Supporting President Obama's Common Sense Approach

32BJ SEIU Plainfield Immigration Reform March

As the General Election of 2016 looms ever closer, there are several issues which have become focal points of the presidential candidates. One of the most important, in my mind, is that of immigration.

Here in Plainfield, we are a microcosm of the United States of America. We are blessed to have a truly dynamic and diverse community, a blended society reflective of the numerous ethnicities that have made this place their home.

As an immigrant to this great country myself, I understand the challenges faced when trying to integrate into a new culture, however, the opportunities here are myriad for someone who is willing to work hard and be a productive member of the community.

No one should have to “live in the shadows,” so to speak, but that is exactly what approximately 11 million people are doing in our nation. I believe that there should be a common sense approach to immigration and a path to citizenship for those who qualify.

The plan proposed by President Obama under earned citizenship would provide undocumented immigrants with a legal way to earn citizenship so they can come out of the shadows. It holds them accountable by requiring that they pass background checks, pay taxes and a penalty, go to the back of the line, and learn English. It requires everyone to play by the same rules.

Under the “Deporting Felons, Not Families” proposal, the president’s actions focus on the deportation of people who threaten national security and public safety. The focus is on anyone suspected of terrorism, on violent criminals, and on gang members.

I fully support President Obama’s stance on these proposals because it gives a fair chance to any honest immigrant wanting to find a legal way forward, and also puts the focus of deportation where it is most needed—on those who come here with no intention of upholding the law.

The majority of immigrants come here because they want a better life for themselves and their families. I was one of those immigrants many years ago, and it wasn’t always easy. I came from humble beginnings and a fractured family, but I had the fire of ambition lit in my breast and I believed I could fan its flames here. I persevered for a better education by attending numerous tertiary institutions, beginning with Union County College, which has a campus right here in Plainfield, and I worked always toward the goal of having a fulfilling community role along with being able to provide a stable life for my family. I also felt the need to give back in some way to the country which had embraced me, and this need pushed me toward public service. 

Today, I am the Mayor of Plainfield because there existed a common sense approach and path to immigration at that time. I am Mayor because I grasped with both hands the opportunities presented by this country; I am Mayor because America allowed me to grow and flourish. I am Mayor because there existed a belief that immigrants who came here and worked hard had something of value to contribute to the success of America.

I still believe this to be true and I want to ensure that every immigrant here in Plainfield is afforded the same opportunities that I was able to take advantage of: a path to legal immigration, a chance to further his or her education, and a chance to raise a family and contribute in a meaningful way to our community.
“We didn't raise the Statue of Liberty with her back to the world, we did it with her light shining as a beacon to the world. And whether we were Irish or Italians or Germans crossing the Atlantic, or Japanese or Chinese crossing the Pacific; whether we crossed the Rio Grande or flew here from all over the world - generations of immigrants have made this country into what it is. It’s what makes us special.”—President Barack Obama November 14, 2014

Plainfield we are special, we are that wonderful mixture of cultures from near and far, a smorgasbord of ethnicities, a community of diverse humanity, and this is something we should embrace and celebrate. I will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of every resident—natural born or immigrant—because this coming together is truly the fabric that America is made of.

Creating One Plainfield - One Future,

Mayor Adrian O. Mapp
City of Plainfield

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Plainfield Community Pride Is Our Responsibility

A community that believes in itself is able to rise and overcome challenges through the strength and support of its people. Without a strong sense of civic/community pride, Plainfield, we will always find ourselves dependent on others to take care of our needs. If we want cleaner, safer streets and neighborhoods...if we want support for our local businesses...if we want meaningful educational opportunities...if we want to lower crime...we need to have a strong sense of civic pride. We have the power to make these things happen and it is critical to do so if we are to successfully move our city ahead.

Taking pride in our community is essential for achieving the quality of life we all desire. It starts with little things like supporting our local businesses, being active members of community organizations, sweeping a sidewalk, beautifying a business, or taking part in crime prevention activities. If we all take responsibility and do our part, the end result will be an overall aesthetic and social improvement and increased self-sufficiency.

The people who are in charge of waste disposal come to our homes a few times per week to take away what we put out. They try to keep the common areas clean and they support clean-up efforts as much as possible. Ultimately, however, we are the ones who make the difference in our neighborhoods. If we all assumed responsibility for the areas immediately in front of, and adjacent to, our residences, we would begin to make a huge difference. We must feel a sense of pride about the area we live in. We can effect change for the better in our neighborhoods.

If we nurture civic pride and we take deliberate action to become civic activists, it will become contagious here in Plainfield. Our neighbors who see us displaying community pride will want to follow suit, adding to the momentum. If we keep our city clean and show pride in our neighborhoods and businesses, we will continue to attract new investment in our City. One small action can lead to a wave of change. Our property values will increase, crime will decrease, and our educational system will become better. We will create a community spirit for volunteerism and responsibility.

Neighbors, elected officials, religious organizations, and community groups can all play a role in fostering strong community pride. We must remember that often it is “doing the little things” that make a big difference. Perhaps most importantly, we must ensure that our children understand that pride in their community is critical to Plainfield's future vision. It is the future Plainfield that they will inherit.

We can display community pride in many ways; Individuals can take responsibility for the well-being of their neighbors as well as themselves. Maintain attractive and inviting homes and neighborhoods. Support local businesses. Support community events. Speak out against littering and vandalism, work to preserve the historic elements among us. Volunteer to help educate and nurture our students, and stand firm in the fight against crime.

A thriving downtown with attractive, inviting storefronts which reflect and preserve our historic architecture will attract investors and encourage new development. Our neighborhoods with attractive yards and well maintained homes exhibiting pride of ownership will send a positive message to potential home buyers. Well-maintained, clean streets instill a sense of pride, and every one of us taking responsibility for the education of our young people will support our village and raise conscious, civic-minded young people.

People taking responsibility to do "the little things" will make a difference in the present and future of our community. if we all took responsibility instead of waiting for someone else to do it for us, the change would be immediate and striking. At the end of the day, it's Our Plainfield! Let's own it, let's nurture it, let's clean it, and let's unify to take care of it and preserve it for our children and future generations to come.

Mayor Adrian O. Mapp 
City of Plainfield

Monday, August 1, 2016

Plainfield's National Night Out - An Evening of Unity in Our City

On August 7th, 1984 the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) introduced the first ever National Night Out. The idea was to encourage communities to get involved in crime prevention activities, to promote police-community partnerships, neighborhood unity, and to send a message to criminals that neighborhoods were organized and fighting back.

That first year, 2.5 million Americans across 400 communities in 23 states took part. The seed was planted. National Night Out now involves over 37.8 million people and 16,124 communities from all fifty states, U.S. Territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide.

Here in Plainfield, we have participated in National Night Out for many years and this year will be no exception. Tomorrow, Tuesday August 2nd, 2016 from 6 PM to 8 PM we will gather at City Hall Plaza and the Parking Lot for our annual celebration.

In addition to the promotion of police-community partnerships and building neighborhood camaraderie, this year we will also service low-income students in Plainfield by providing them with book bags and school supplies. Our vision is for every child in Plainfield to have the best learning opportunities possible, and having the right tools is an important part of what they need to succeed in the classroom.  These donations will not only assist students in their preparations for school but also give them added motivation to learn, grow and flourish. We are partners here in our community and we have a vested interest in seeing our children achieve as much as possible.

National Night Out will serve to reinforce the positive bond that we enjoy with our police officers. This evening will be a chance to interact and enjoy some light moments with the men and women who work hard to protect us. Additionally, there will a demonstration by the Plainfield Fire Division, a Car Show, Kids Zone, Live Music, Refreshments and other exciting activities.

As a community, it is important that we continue to be unified in our stand against crime. When we stand together regardless of color, regardless of creed, regardless of political affiliation, regardless of anything other than the fact that this is our Plainfield, and we want to protect it and make it safe for everyone. When we put aside our differences and unite for a better quality of life, this is when we begin to make a difference, this is when we begin to win.

National Night Out is an opportunity to take that stand whilst having fun. These are the moments that serve to strengthen our bond as family. We know that a city united is stronger than one that is divided and we want to grow stronger every day.

It's our city, and these are our neighborhoods, our children, our friends, our families, and our future. Will you join us as we come together on August 2nd to unite, to stand up against crime, to strengthen the bond between our police officers and you, our residents, and to help our children get the start they deserve?

Plainfield, unity is everything...and I hope to see you there.

Creating One Plainfield - One Future,

Mayor Adrian O. Mapp 
City of Plainfield