Welcome to Say Something Nice About Camden. Sounds simple, right? Well, let’s not overthink it. The goal here is to do precisely that: Say Something Nice about Camden, New Jersey. We encourage all visitors to share their positive experiences relating to the place American poet Walt Whitman once called “a city invincible.”
We encourage you to contribute to this website in the manner one might add to a mural. In your own words, express the elements of Camden—both big and small—that leap out at first blush. Use whichever medium you find appropriate. Post your thoughts on a message board, send us a video or artwork. Provided that it’s appropriate, we will share it with everyone who has some stake in seeing Camden claw its way back from many years of struggle.
To offer some perspective, we spoke to Boxing Hall of Famer Dwight Muhammad Qawi, aka “The Camden Buzzsaw” about his memories growing up in the city. “Camden has character. I have character,” he said. “Camden has weathered all the storms. It has persevered.” Mr. Qawi has worked at The Lighthouse in Mays Landing for more than a decade, working with people battling drug and alcohol addiction. After a brief conversation, he called back, sounding invigorated, and offered his own tagline: “Camden Thrives and Survives in the Face of Adversity. Let’s Keep it Movin’.”
We also spoke to Olympic silver medalist Sheena Tosta about her childhood memories. “I enjoyed having block parties,” she said. “I remember we had a family reunion there and shut down the block to have a race. My family has always had speed and we always wanted to see who was the fastest.”
The aim is not to whitewash the many bleak stories and startling statistics coming out of Camden. The crime and poverty are real, and those who call Camden home must find a way to make it through each day and maintain hope. That, perhaps, is the main idea: to remind Camdenites of the city’s better things—its best things—the idea being that that alone has value.
So there it is: your call to action. And remember: Say Something Nice!