Cooperative effort saves Camden's Peace on the Street Jam

Posted: July 21, 2012

Organizers of Camden's Peace on the Street Jam have found the power to put on the antiviolence event Thursday night as scheduled.

Plans were in jeopardy last week when organizers discovered that the event site, Robert Johnson Park in the city's Liberty Park section, had been stripped of copper wire - and therefore electricity.

"We're all set," city public works director Pat Keating said Friday. The city, county, and school board came together on a solution.

School district maintenance workers found two working portable generators that will be used to light up the concession stand and bathrooms, school officials said.

The school board will vote Tuesday on other expenses for the event, including T-shirts, hot dogs, water ice, a Moon Bounce, and popcorn machines.

The city Department of Public Works will provide one generator for the water tent, popcorn, and hot dog stands. The city also will provide police to control traffic and patrol during the two-hour event.

Camden County offered its showmobile stage, which comes with its own generator, and Philadelphia radio station Power 99 will bring the entertainment.

Copper wires were stolen from the park's main source of power more than a year ago, and the city has not had the money to replace them. Last month, City Council approved a $9,800 contract for an engineering firm to design an electric project for Robert Johnson Park.

Camden's Peace on the Street Jam, sponsored by Power 99, is part of a three-city tour, including Philadelphia and Chester, aimed at promoting peaceful interaction within local communities and stopping violence, according to a release from the station.

Camden's event will feature a performance by Grammy-nominated artist Bei Maejor, with a special appearance by Lupe Fiasco, who is expected to speak out against violence in communities. Also performing will be local Camden artists Young Poppa and Ju-Taun.

Since the start of the summer, violence in Camden has escalated to multiple homicides in one day and daytime shootings. Nine people have been killed in July, including Jovan Aponte, 19, and Reynaldo Morales, 17.

More than 2,000 people, including Mayor Dana L. Redd, are expected to attend the free show.

"We need our residents, businesses, and public officials to stand united against the increase of violent activities that is affecting the quality of life in Camden," city spokesman Robert Corrales said, adding that the hope was that the Peace on the Street Jam would "unify our residents against all acts of violence in our city."


Contact Claudia Vargas at 856-779-3917, cvargas@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @InqCVargas. Read her blog, "Camden Flow," at www.philly.com/camden_flow/.

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