Home » Melissa Giunta

Melissa Giunta

“Hello, can anybody here me,” that`s what mostly all Atlantic City residents wonder on a daily basis now that the Atlantic City takeover is in place. Another frequently asked question on the streets is, “Why won`t anyone listen to people who are apart of the community.” To most people that would seem like the obvious approach. But, not even in 2016 will a lower class black man`s voice be listened to. In order to fix a problem, you need to figure out the issues and find a solution. Atlantic City residents have spent months trying to come up with a solution to make their city a community again. Jobs are low, crimes is high, morale is down, and a lot of unpleasant changes are occurring right before the communities eyes.

dsc00048

I had the pleasure of interviewing a young man in the AC community, he gave me insight on what it`s like living in Atlantic City today. I asked him if he trusted the states political system. He said, “he feels betrayed.” By the state, by the government, and by the community. He stated, “there is no system built for any minority.” These high ranked authorities are using their power to control the future of this city. “They seem not to care about Atlantic City,” I was told. They are deciding what is going to happens to the community and how things will be run. That is basically stripping the rights of the community because a high authority is using their power to choose what happens. In the Jackson & Jones book, they talk about the lingering history of urban renewal in black San Francisco. Although there is no urban renewal and redevelopment occurring in Atlantic City, these two cities are strikingly similar. Both communities had people in high power who are not apart of the community take over. They both lost control of what happens in the area. Both urban spaces full of minorities have lost a sense of culture and unity. “This sense of unity helped black people to grow roots in the San Franciscan community,” (Jackson and Jones 2014.) The same could be said for Atlantic City. The city used to be booming until the casinos went down. Now everyone is dealing with the consequences of a crashing economy. “Losing the casinos was 80% of the impact,” my interviewee said. More than half the jobs in the city were in the casinos. Once the casinos were closed, the city`s unemployment rate went through the roof. Drugs started getting increasingly popular, prostitutions began taking off in certain areas, and homelessness rose dramatically. The environment in which Atlantic City became was toxic. Environmental factors started interfering with the lives of the residents. Pollution was overly noticeable while streets weren`t being properly taken care of because of all the homeless people. Everywhere started getting dirty, unsafe, run down and looked unattractive. Atlantic City, somewhere where lights used to be shining and bright throughout the night while high rollers used to be out roaming through the streets in the night celebrating wins on the slots. It is now somewhere dark, unpleasant, and isolated from areas around it. The community members are beginning to feel hurt. They want help, they want communication, they want a better and fair life. The behavior of the government does not seem fair to the community members. The government should want to help, instead they seem bothered when Atlantic City asks for help. It`s like AC is not important to New Jersey. The behavior of the government is affecting all of Atlantic City. In order to fix the problems that Atlantic City is facing, we need to come together as one. The state, and the city, need to find a resolution that’ll be beneficial for all. One that will make Atlantic City feel like home again for the residents. The Black Lives Matter movement in Atlantic City is,“bringing the community better positive light on a negative situation,” he stated. Community members are trying to be heard and they are trying to make changes to the way minorities, or those with little power are treated. Until the Atlantic City members reach equality, they will continue asking the question, “Hello, can anybody hear me.”