NJOP Hosts Convention – Our New Jersey, Our Future – This Saturday

Oct 08, 2018

Join the New Jersey Organizing Project for its first convention this Saturday, Oct. 13, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ocean Acres Community Center in Stafford Township. “We are coming together,” the group acknowledges, “as a powerful regional organization – a force to be reckoned with – fighting for our future. Ever look around and think, ‘Somebody should do something?’ At NJOP, we know we are all that somebody.”

NJOP, formed two years after Superstorm Sandy, is a network of individuals working to pass policies, change institutions, hold corporations accountable and ensure elected officials stand with their constituents. “We engage in community-powered solutions,” says the group. “We activate, connect and train community members to participate in the decision-making processes that affect their daily lives and take action for real solutions.”

On Oct. 29, 2014, nine Sandy survivors launched the “Finish the Job” campaign, and NJOP, largely due to the failings of the Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation, or RREM, program. The organization helped beget the Rental Assistance Program, worked with state Senate President Stephen Sweeney to pass the Efficiency and Transparency in Sandy Recovery Spending Act and coordinated with area legislators to see the passage of a bill to prevent foreclosures, which passed with bipartisan support but was conditionally vetoed by then-Gov. Chris Christie.

Joe Mangino, an NJOP co-founder and its current board president, will be among the speakers at the convention. Mangino, who is running for mayor of Stafford Township, is a small-business owner; a founder of Stafford Teachers and Residents Together (START), which labored to help local residents after Sandy; and winner of the 2013 Martin Truex Jr. Foundation Humanitarian of the Year award for  his boots-on-the-ground storm recovery efforts and related jurisdictive endeavors.

Additional speakers include: Shana Udvardy, a climate resilience analyst with the Climate and Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, conducting research and policy analysis to help build support to increase resilience to climate change impacts; Wendoly Marte, senior field campaign manager for the Center for Community Change’s Safety Net Defense project, the goal of which is to protect federal programs such as Medicaid, Medicare and food stamps; Jason M. Tuber, senior adviser to U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who confers with the senator on a range of issues, including flood insurance, disaster response and preparedness, taxation and economic policy; and Margarida Jorge, executive director of Health Care for America Now, a coalition campaign she helped found in 2008 to pass, implement and defend the landmark Affordable Care Act.

Tickets for the convention are $18 online, at actionnetwork.org, or $20 at the door. Individuals who might need a scholarship to attend the event may email priscilla@newjerseyop.org to request a ticket. Children enter for free, and there will be childcare on site.

The Ocean Acres Community Center is located at 489 Nautilus Drive in Manahawkin.

To learn more about the New Jersey Organizing Project, visit newjerseyop.org. —J.K.-H.

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