I started the Tenants Organization of Montclair to fulfill one of my late mother’s dying wishes of me. Unbeknownst to many beside my expression of it, this was the main reason for my involvement in this movement.

After over 30 years of it not coming to fruition, our group's efforts brought rent control to Montclair for the first time in history of its establishment. It just goes to prove that it only takes one — one to stand up and attract others in who believe in the cause and are willing as Toni Martin, our first vice president would say, "be a rare bird.”

I’d like to acknowledge those who first approached me to offer help at the April 11, 2019 rent control forum: Dr. Manuel Brown, the Rev. Safiya Oni Brown (also founders), Mitch Kahn of the New Jersey Tenants organization, Jacob, the Rev. Leslie Houseworth Fields, Jean and Peter, Alain, James and Pluchet.

Over the months of publicly meeting, we continued to grow until that amazing September day in 2019 at what used to be Crazy Mocha. Brenda and Tanisha said they had had enough and were ready, confident and prepared to attend in-person council meetings. We all rejoiced and carried forward. There are so many details and meetings, mile markers to mention that it could be a chapter book.

I’d like to thank Mr. William Scott for providing loads of background guidance and pieces to the puzzle. I’d like to thank the clergy of Montclair TOOM members who remained engaged during our first info session and took action that spiraled us forward at what seemed like the speed of light. Of course, the mayor and Montclair Township Council held light to this and stayed in the groove, so we are thankful for them. I’d like to assure the community that the Tenants Organization of Montclair will continue on. We will still offer monthly meetings to join us, and I and other leaders will continue training those who want to take a more active role. We represent several generations and the diversity that is expected from Montclair and will continue to do so. Montclair wins with rent control.”

President, Tenants Organization of Montclair

Editor's note: The author of this letter did not provide full names for some of the individuals cited within.

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