Camden has been deemed the poorest city in the United States, based on Census data. Assemblyman Angel Fuentes, a past city council president in Camden, told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that the news is “somewhat devastating” and the city needs help from all levels of government to reverse the statistics.
Fuentes said Camden Mayor Dana Redd is doing a good job trying to help turn the city around. He also said legislation like the Urban Transit Hub bill and the Urban Hope Act bill will help improve the economic situation in the city. “But as I stated earlier, this is beyond just the local level,” he said. “We need the state and federal government to intervene.”
Fuentes co-founded the Hispanic Leadership Summit, scheduled for Saturday at Rowan University. He said there are issues in the Hispanic community in New Jersey, including lack of voter registrations, lack of health insurance and high unemployment. He explained of the 1.6 million Hispanics in the state, just over 640,000 are registered to vote. Thirty percent of Latinos lack health insurance and unemployment is 12 percent among Hispanics, Fuentes said.
The summit is meant to create dialogue, engage people and get them involved, he explained. The summit’s Twitter account — @Hispanic_Summit — will be updated in real time during the event for those unable to attend.
The Hispanic population is diverse, Fuentes said, with many coming from Central and South America and Spain. “It creates a challenge but you know there’s always what I say a partnership of hope,” Fuentes said. “We’re all going to come together with one voice.”
One of the topics of discussion will be the June 15 action by President Barack Obama when he signed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival Act. Fuentes called the action “a giant step” and a good start for immigration reform.
Immigration is big with Hispanics, according to Fuentes. “It’s really an issue that no matter where we go it resonates with the Latino community,” he said.