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"50 People I Admire"
by Monsignor William J. Linder
(second in a series)

In my nearly 45 years here at the helm of New Community, I have met some most interesting and influential people. Many of these individuals are mentioned in a book I am currently working on about my life.

Special recognition will be given to all 50 at New Community's 45th Anniversary Gala taking place on March 9, 2013.


Saul David
Alinsky

Best known as an American community organizer and writer, Saul Alinsky is best considered to be the founder of modern community organizing. In the course of nearly four decades of political organizing, Alinsky received much criticism, but also gained praise from many public figures. His organizing skills were focused on improving the living conditions of poor communities across North America. In the 1950s, he began turning his attention to improving conditions of the poor African-Americans, beginning with Chicago's and later traveling to other poor neighborhoods in California, Michigan, New York City, and a dozen other "trouble spots."

"What is so remarkable about Alinksy is he was able to gain the support from the archbishop of his Catholic Diocese and its very conservative congregation to fund his community organizing work. There are many people who speak well about community organizing but he actually did it by teaching poor people that they had as much to say about their circumstances as anyone else. And he was a big advocate for providing job training as a means of self-empowerment."

Monsignor William J. Linder


Joseph Chieppa

As the longtime point person at the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) for Section 8 Housing, Joe Chieppa made NJ a national leader by accelerating the development of housing for the poor in Newark and throughout the Garden State.

"Joe really believed that all families should have decent housing and much of New Community's more than 2,000 units of senior and family housing were constructed during his tenure at NJHMFA. As a really down to earth person, Joe just wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. He was tough, but a straight shooter, relentless and just a good human being who was kind and caring. When I heard that Joe had passed away, I knew that New Jersey had lost a true champion when it comes to low-income housing. There will never be another like Joe."

Monsignor William J. Linder


Jim and
Lucinda Florio

Jim Florio served as the 49th Governor of NJ. Currently, Florio is a founding partner and of counsel to the Florio, Perrucci, Steinhardt & Fader law firm. Lucinda Florio is a former teacher and advocate of childhood education. Soon after marrying Jim and becoming First Lady of NJ, she diligently worked on education, childcare, and health issues

"Jim was a boxer, and in his heart, he will always be a 'boxer'. Every time I saw him he would ask, "How they treating you?" when referring to NJ State Government. He really cared about NCC. Lucinda would frequently visit Harmony House (NCC's transitional living facility) and the Extended Care Facility, and would make special donations. She would co-chair many fundraisers with me and her heart was always in the right place, which was to help others in need. The Florios truly are committed to education and social responsibility and they show it in the way they care about NJ and its residents."

Monsignor William J. Linder

  Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr.

The most well-known civil rights leader of our time, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. absorbed himself in issues relating to social and economic injustice, using civil disobedience as a tool to bring these problems to the forefront. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) announced a "Poor People's Campaign" in 1967 that asked the federal government to prioritize helping the poor with a $30 billion anti-poverty package that included a commitment to full employment, a guaranteed annual income measure and more low-income housing. Although King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, shortly before the campaign was set to begin, a six-week encampment dubbed "Resurrection City" sprang forth on the Mall in Washington, D.C. a month later, bringing together people of all races from around the country to demand economic justice.

"Were he alive today, Dr. King, I believe, would support any non-violent demonstration for economic justice, as he had called "economic exploitation" one of the three "evils" of American society, along with racism and militarism. Those beliefs were inspirational to me and were a driving force for our work at New Community. We truly lost a great hero in the constant struggle to end racism and to work toward economic equality."

Monsignor William J. Linder


Barack &
Michelle Obama

Barack H. Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States in 2008, becoming the first African-American to hold the nation's highest office.Married to Michelle Obama, the story of Barack and Michelle is a true American story, stressing strong family values like hard work, the importance of education in getting ahead and the conviction that a life well lived is built around service to others.

"When I came to Newark in the first week of 1963, I was assigned to Queen of Angels, and my first task was to organize our participation in the March on Washington. About 150 of us went. If someone had told me on that day, that an African-American man would be elected president of the United States in 2008, my answer would have been, "No way." In Barack Obama, we have someone who is a transformational leader and one of the truly great figures of this century. As he continues to rise to his God-given potential for leadership and can overcome the divisions that plague us, we are looking at someone that can offer greatness. I was struck by President Obama's dedication to ensuring that the wealthiest among us share what they have with the less fortunate, fighting terrorism and providing health care for all. Also, it's obvious to me that Michelle found a way to balance her social responsibilities with that of being a mom. Michelle's work with Dr. Biden on nutrition works nicely with her role as a mom. Both Barack and Michelle are great role models and they make us proud of the 1st family."

Monsignor William J. Linder

 

 

Primary Bio source: Wikipedia
(Series to be continued in November)

 

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