First look
“Out of the Ashes Came Hope”

Coming in Spring 2013


"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.

Jack Kemp

Jack Kemp was an American politician who served as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1989-1993 during the administration of President George H. W. Bush. A U.S. Army veteran and collegiate and professional football player, he likened his involvement in politics to football, saying, "Pro football gave me a good perspective. When I entered the political arena, I had already been booed, cheered, cut, sold, traded, and hung in effigy." Kemp, who was later awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 by President Barack Obama, has been described as the most proactive combatant in the war against poverty since Robert Kennedy.

"As a darling of the conservatives, he was one of the most liberal politicians I knew. He made it possible for HUD to agree to transfer land rights that allowed us to build our homeless transitional facility on to a property which was originally designated as collateral on a loan for the Extended Care Facility. We experienced a great deal of difficulties but Kemp stepped in and made it possible for us. Today, both nursing home and homeless shelter provide so much support for our families. His support transitioned into an accomplishment in NCC's history."

Monsignor William J. Linder

Panthers in the 60's

In the 60's, the Black Panther Party was one of the first organizations in U.S. history to militantly struggle for ethnic minority and working class emancipation and the establishment of real economic, social, and political equality across gender and color lines. The organization achieved national and international notoriety through its involvement in the Black Power movement and U.S. politics. The Black Panther Party's most widely known programs were its armed citizens' patrols to evaluate behavior of police officers. The organization also had other survival programs including clothing distribution, classes on politics and economics, free medical clinics, lessons on self-defense and first aid, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and testing for sickle-cell disease.

"It was unfortunate that they were advocates for and victims of violence, however they were devoted to saving their people and not everyone was open to Dr. King's message of non-violence.. Both had a place in US history. For me they never bothered or stood in the way of our work at NCC because we were all working toward the greater good in our own unique ways."

Monsignor William J. Linder

Jane Fonda

Well-known actress and fitness guru, Jane Fonda is also a writer, and political activist. She has won two Academy Awards and received several other movie awards and nominations during more than 50 years as an actress. Fonda has been an activist for many political causes including issues of civil rights, women's rights, and environmental issues. Specifically, Fonda was known for her controversial opposition to the Vietnam War. She has also protested the Iraq War and violence against women. Monsignor was invited to conduct workshops at the Carter Institute, a group she and Ted Turner supported. Fonda was so impressed with Monsignor's work, she sent a group of organizers to tour and learn about NCC and community development.

"Jane wisely uses her fame and notoriety to help bring awareness to causes. After her organizers toured NCC, I was pleasantly surprised that she took time out of her very busy schedule to thank me personally for hosting her group. I admire her resolve in working, and staying fit, while continuing to support organizations that work with women and teenagers."

Monsignor William J. Linder


Arthur (Art) F. Ryan

Arthur F. Ryan is a businessman who came to prominence during the 1990s, when he was the first outsider to become Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Prudential Insurance, a life insurance agency. During his years as CEO, Ryan moved aggressively, asking New Jersey authorities to launch a full investigation into the company to uncover any scandals. Ryan would also end up transforming the company from a mutual to a stock company.

"Art was a big supporter of NCC by making sure we benefited from its foundation and also its social investments. But his commitment went beyond what his company could do. He truly cared about our city and believed all should have an opportunity to thrive in Newark."

Monsignor William J. Linder

Mary Lou Williams

Mary Lou Williams was an American jazz pianist, composer, and arranger. Williams wrote hundreds of compositions and arrangements, and recorded more than one hundred records. Williams also wrote and arranged for bandleaders including Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman.

"She had a kind heart and even opened a thrift shop to help addicted artists find work. She had something to do with almost every part of Jazz history. When I would visit "The Cookery," she would hear my voice and start playing some of my favorites, just to let me know she knew I was there. It was great! As a friend, she would play jazz mass at Queen of Angels, where I was pastor for a number of years and she was the reason Dizzy Gillespie came and performed. Later, Mary Lou Williams' music was often chosen for Jazz Mass at St. Rose of Lima in Newark, where I was pastor from 1974 before retiring on June 24, 2012. Her music and mass were a perfect combination. Newark, where I pastored from 1974 to June 24, 2012."

Monsignor William J. Linder


Richard J. Daley, Mayor of Chicago

Richard was the first of two Daleys to serve as Mayor of Chicago, from April 1955 to December of 1976. A poll of 160 historians, political scientists and urban experts ranked Daley as the sixth best mayor in American history. He is remembered for doing much to avoid the declines that some other "rust belt cities" like Cleveland, Buffalo, and Detroit experienced during the same period. He had a strong base of support in Chicago's Irish Catholic community, and he was treated by national politicians such as Lyndon B. Johnson as a preeminent Irish American, with special connections to the Kennedy family.

"Daley's work in his city was tremendous. He didn't seem fair to many people but he certainly got things done and for the good of the entire city."

Monsignor William J. Linder

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

© New Community Corporation, 2008