HomeCherry Hill NewsCouncil addresses safety issues

Council addresses safety issues

Last Tuesday, Cherry Hill Council convened to discuss safety. Despite the light agenda, council discussed issues of both local and national importance as it recognized Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and discussed safety at a school crosswalk.

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Despite a thunderstorm raging outside, the audience was a small sea of residents donning orange – a color that’s become emblematic of the Moms Demand Action movement. The group is part of a national grassroots movement advocating for gun safety measures. Council presented the group with a proclamation declaring Friday, June 7 as National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

Councilwoman Sangeeta Doshi introduced the group to those in attendance by explaining that Moms Demand Action is nonpartisan, and while it stands up for the Second Amendment, it is making a statement that children’s safety is more important than guns.

Doshi said she recently attended a speech where Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, discussed working with police and domestic violence teams. She said Watts pointed out that domestic violence happens around the world, and in many countries women end up in a hospital. In the United States, when a gun is present, women more often end up in a grave. Doshi said this point, in particular, hit home for her.

During the proclamation, Doshi said gun violence has risen to the highest level of national attention. She said, today, Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed with guns than people in other high-income countries.

Councilman Brian Bauerle said Cherry Hill has joined with millions of Americans in renewing its commitment to promoting safe gun ownership.

“As a symbol of solidarity and a way to honor those injured by or lost to gun violence, members of the Cherry Hill community have committed to wear orange on this day,” Bauerle said.

Carol O’Neill, the Cherry Hill lead for the South Jersey Chapter of Moms Demand Action, thanked council for the proclamation. She said the group hopes to continue to work with town council, police and the fire department to raise awareness around gun safety issues.

“We’re very hopeful to continue this partnership,” O’Neill said. “This obviously is a very important issue to us.”

The discussions around safety continued when resident and kindergartener Bethany Epstein was introduced by her mother Dawn to talk about her walk to school. Epstein mounted a chair to reach the podium as she addressed council.

“I like to walk to school,” Epstein said. “I’m here because at the intersection of King George Road and Chapel Avenue, the cars don’t stop.”

She said despite the fact that there are signs indicating the crosswalk ahead and a crossing guard, cars often blow through the intersection. She said, in her eyes, the only thing left at this point is to put a speed bump in to slow the cars down.

Her mother followed saying it was her daughter’s idea to come to council. She said despite the current speeding deterrents, she and her daughter were almost hit walking to Kingston Elementary School.

“They just don’t stop,” Dawn said.

She said her daughter asked her what they could do to slow people down, and so they came to ask council that same question.

Council President David Fleisher and his fellow council members commended the kindergartener for her courage in standing before council. He assured the Epstein pair that the township’s business administrator and police chief would find out more about the intersection and look into the matter.

“Tonight was a small sample of what makes Cherry Hill a great place,” Fleisher said. “We have issues of local importance like safety at a crossing for school as well as issues that affect the entire public. It’s that melting pot that we think makes our community a great one. It’s only because people step up to be counted and to be heard, and we appreciate all of you doing that tonight.”

The next meeting of Cherry Hill Township Council will take place on Monday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the township’s municipal building.



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