Montclair’s Communcation Director Katya Wowk forwarded the following statement from Montclair’s 4th Ward Councilor Renee Baskerville, M.D., dated Sunday, May 7, at the Montclair March for a Market:
I am excited to join my constituents here today at the site of the previous 4th Ward Pathmark Supermarket in Montclair; the site which will hopefully soon serve as the location for a world class supermarket– a Fair Trade establishment that will support farmers, workers, and the planet; and that will well serve this community as a great corporate partner.
I am delighted that today we are adding new “Foot Soldiers” to the army of the several hundred Forth Ward residents who have been meeting with me monthly for the past 8 years, exchanging information, devising and collectively advancing plans for Moving Montclair 4 Ward.
For the past two years, more than 100 4th Ward residents have been sitting with me at the “Table of Brotherhood,” at the Fire Headquarters, in living rooms of concerned residents, in municipal and corporate suites, discussing with the property owners, Township officials, and others, options, challenges and opportunities for meeting the needs of the 4th Ward residents for a new supermarket that will offer fresh fruits and vegetables, many of which we hope will be locally grown; overall fresher, less processed foods at the best prices; the household staples that we need other grocery store items and promotionals, such as the “can can sales” so important to our seniors. We have been discussing the value added that would be added to the community and the grocery store of having a community technology center in the store at which local residents—our seniors in particular, who may lack Internet access- could connect and take care of business, learn new things, or engage with family members in other parts of the world. It would be great if the grocery store would also have a healthy living corner in which residents can have their blood pressure checked and their blood sugar levels checked. We need a Fourth Ward grocery store that will intentionally accommodate the many roles our grocery stores have served over the years. They have been market places not only for food for our bodies, but market places for exchanges among and between residents—places where new ideas are germinated, information exchanged about community events and information. Our grocery stores have and the next one must intentionally offer the best food, at the best prices for our bodies, minds, souls and “food for thought.”
Those who have been working with me on this for the past two years and the new Foot Soldiers want to make certain that the farmers and all of the workers at the incoming grocery store are union workers and that they are afforded fair wages, health benefits, family and medical leave; and that local residents are afforded preferences in hiring for all of the jobs, for contracts, that Fourth Ward residents are given preference for service on advisory and other boards the grocery store might establish.
I stand here today as I have through the decades lending my time, talent, my voice, stature and expertise as a pediatrician and family practitioner focused, always on facilitating healthier lifestyles and the well- being of all who are in this Township and the others I am privileged to serve.
I invite those who may be here for the first time, to join me and others of your neighbors at our monthly 4th ward meetings where we welcome your full participation and engagement, our Town Council Meetings, our Planning Board Meetings and Redevelopment Sub-Committee Meetings. I encourage your participation and applaud you fact finding efforts.